Approximately 15 million people throughout the United States report experiencing severe joint pain on a regular basis.
Are you part of this group? If so, you might think that your days of exercising are behind you. That doesn’t have to be the case, though.
Read on to learn about some tips you can use to minimize your discomfort when working out with joint pain. We’ll share some effective joint exercises you can try as well.
1. Warm-Up Properly
Everyone ought to go through a thorough warm-up before they start a workout. If you struggle with joint pain, though, you need to be extra vigilant about getting in your warm-up before you exercise.
A good warm-up will elevate your core body temperature and help to prepare your muscles for the exercises you’re about to put them through.
Ideally, it will consist of two parts. The first is a general warm-up, which involves light cardiovascular exercise (like walking) to raise your heart rate.
The second is a priming or mobility-focused warm-up that takes you through movements similar to the exercise you’re about to perform. For example, if you’re getting ready to do squats with weights, you might include bodyweight-only squats in your warm-up.
2. Try Swimming
Some forms of exercise might be difficult for you when you experience a lot of joint pain. This is especially true of certain types of cardiovascular exercise, such as running or aerobics.
You don’t have to eschew cardio altogether, though (no matter how much you might want to). You just have to find new ways to elevate your heart rate.
Swimming is an effective, low-impact option that won’t put pressure on your joints. It can also help to strengthen your muscles, too, because the water provides you with some gentle resistance.
3. Don’t Skip Strength Training
You may get some additional resistance from the water while you swim. That doesn’t mean you have a free pass to skip out on strength training, though. In fact, strength training is one of the best forms of exercise you can do if you have severe joint pain.
This might seem counterintuitive at first. In reality, though, strength training will help to strengthen the muscles and joints and improve your ability to move them through a full range of motion.
The key is to make sure you’re performing exercises with good form (consider working with a personal trainer to learn how to do this) and also to make sure you’re using appropriate weights.
As long as you’re using weights that match your strength level (this doesn’t mean giving up heavy weights entirely, but rather working up to them over time), lifting the in the correct way, and warming up properly, you can see lots of benefits from regular strength training.
4. Stretch it Out
Make sure you’re stretching after your workouts, too.
Static stretching (holding a stretch for an extended period of time) is not ideal before a workout, as it can increase your range of motion to an unsafe degree. This, in turn, can lead to a greater risk of injury. After a workout, though, it can help to loosen up your muscles and reduce the amount of soreness you feel the next day.
It can help to bring your heart rate down, too, and get your body into a parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) state. This make sit easy for your muscles to begin recovering from the workout.
5. Use Joint Health Supplements
Speaking of recovery, certain supplements can help you to experience less inflammation and recover faster from your workouts. The following are some of the most effective supplements you may want to try:
- Turmeric: Reduces inflammation thanks to the compound curcumin
- Ginger: Reduces inflammation and relieves pain
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Promote good cellular health and minimize inflammation
- Calcium: Helps to strengthen the bones and support the joints
- Glucosamine: Promotes better cartilage (tissue found between joints) health
Green tea can be useful, too. It’s loaded with antioxidants, which help to protect the cells (including the cells that make up the joint tissue) from damage.
6. Get Plenty of Sleep
After performing joint exercises or any kind of physical activity, it’s especially important to get plenty of sleep.
It’s when you’re asleep that your body does the bulk of its cleanup and repair work. If you’re not sleeping well, you’ll likely find that you experience more inflammation and will be more prone to joint pain. You’ll have a harder time keeping up with your workouts, too.
If you find that your joint pain keeps you awake at night consider investing in higher quality, supportive mattress and set of pillows. You may want to use some supplements that aid in sleep quality, such as magnesium, as well to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
7. Wear a Brace
Many people who deal with joint pain experience relief from their symptoms if they wear a brace while they exercise.
Braces can provide additional support and gentle compression. This, in turn, can help to minimize swelling that you may experience after a workout.
Braces are most effective for joints like the ankles, knees, and elbows, as these are areas of the body that tend to take on a lot of strain during traditional workouts.
Keep in mind, too, that not all braces are created equal. Look for one that provides adequate support and won’t fall apart right after you buy it. You can visit this website to learn about some of the most effective braces on the market.
Try These Joint Exercises and Joint Health Tips Today
As you can see, there are plenty of joint exercises you can do to minimize your discomfort and continue exercising on a regular basis. Remember these exercises, as well as the other joint health tips outlined above, and you’ll have no trouble participating in the activities you enjoy.
Don’t forget to visit the Fitness section of our blog as well. You’ll find lots of other helpful resources here that will teach you everything you need to know about reducing pain while improving your quality of life through exercise.