Joint Health Exercises / Arthritis and Exercise
Exercise in an important consideration for everyone, but unfortunately when we have problems with our joints and are prone to joint discomfort, then some forms of exercise just aren’t an option. Our joints play such an important role in our general mobility that people who live with arthritis, or other joint complaints, can often find it very difficult and uncomfortable participating in certain forms of exercise and require specific joint health exercises.
However, strength building, aerobic exercise and exercises that are designed to build or maintain range of movement are still very important. Depending on your condition and your doctors advice, there are a variety of low impact activities that you have to choose from.
Swimming is an excellent exercise choice, as there is no weight bearing pressure placed on any part of the body. The buoyancy of the water means that even when you are standing in a pool, your weight is partially supported so that your knees and ankles are not being subjected to the full weight of your body. Different equipment, such as kick boards, are a great way of working out the legs, whilst reducing the strain on your shoulder or elbow joints.
Water aerobics involves a series of different practices, that utilise different equipment such as floatation dumbbells, which work to increase the water’s resistance of movement. Water aerobics is a great way to get your heart pumping, as well as strengthening and toning your whole body.
Cycling provides a low impact cardio workout that strengthens and tones the muscles of your legs and core, as well as ensuring that you are working your knee joints through the full range of movement. Cycling can be done on rough terrain, smooth surfaces, or on an exercise bike to really reduce the extra strain.
Walking is another great way to get your body moving, your blood pumping and your muscles working. Make sure that you have supportive footwear, especially if your knees give you trouble. You can also make walking easier on your knees, ankles and hips by choosing a walking path that is soft (such as grass or sand), and level.
Weight training is a great way to build strength in your muscles that support your joints. Make sure that you have your doctor’s approval first and that you don’t over strain your body by using weights or weight equipment that is too heavy or strong for your problem joints.
Yoga and Pilates can be a fantastic tool to help increase range of movement, as well as strengthening and toning your whole body. Make sure you choose a gentle class and that your instructor is aware of your ailments, so that they can direct you on any contraindications or variations that may be relevant to you.
Tai Chi is a low impact form of martial art and is also an alternative therapy that is often used to help relieve joint pain and inflammation. The slow flowing movements, coupled with the deep breathing makes this form of exercise relaxing and calming as well!
When participating in any of these forms of joint health exercises, it is important that you warm up and warm down, to help prevent inflammation and damage to your muscles and joints. Regular use of a foam roller can also help reduce joint pain, by gently stimulating the fascia supporting the joints. This helps to hydrate the individual cells, making them more effective in cushioning and supporting the joints during exercise.