Your joints make up a major part of your health, and when something goes awry with them, it will often radiate to other aspects of your body. Exercising is critical for everyone to maintain their health, but when you have joint problems—such as arthritis, for example—fitting in your daily workouts can become a painful chore. Fortunately, there are specific exercises and methods of exercising that can benefit your joints and help strengthen them without exacerbating any pre-existing joint conditions you might be experiencing. Exercising your joints can positively affect your bone strength and help fortify the muscles surrounding your joints, which are critical to maintaining painless mobility and great health overall. Here are some gentle workouts you can try on your joints to keep them from becoming too stiff or straining them.
Painful knees can be debilitating, causing issues with your movement and discouraging you from performing your typical physical activities due to fear of aggravating already-sore joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, performing aquatic exercises can be very effective in relieving pain related to osteoarthritis. In addition, Prevention magazine recommends calf raises and step-ups as other exercises that can provide relief. Calf raises are performed by standing against the wall or a chair for balance, and slowly lifting off your heels to balance on your toes for calf and knee stretching. This exercise is then repeated. Similarly, step-ups are another exercise that can help strengthen knees. By using a staircase or stepping bench, you can step onto the step with one foot and then the other, repeating on each side. This helps to gently loosen up your knee joints without aggravation.
Lower Back Exercises
Lower back pain is extremely common, with it impacting about 60-80% of the adult U.S. population, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. While back pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and bulging discs, it can also be attributed to problems with the sacroiliac joint. This joint is positioned close to the bottom of the spine, and when it is irritated, it can cause intense pain in the back and even legs. Maintaining excellent posture is imperative to reducing symptoms of lower back joint pain, and the Chinese health practice of Qi gong—comprised of performing physical postures while focusing on breathing—can be beneficial. In addition, Spine Health recommends performing press-ups, where you lie face-down on the floor and press your upper body up while keeping your hands positioned on the floor. Repeating this gentle stretch can help relieve pain and help promote flexibility in the sacroiliac joint.
The Mayo Clinic recommends performing range-of-motion exercises as a gentle yet effective way to stretch out your joints without aggravating any pain you might be experiencing with them. Range-of-motion exercises are essentially comprised of making your body perform normal movements that you would use on an everyday basis, such as rolling your shoulders back and forth to help loosen up the muscles and relax your joints. Pain in your shoulder may likely be associated with your rotator cuff, which is a group of tendons that is attached to the bones in your shoulder joint and grant mobility for your shoulders while providing stabilization. Rotator cuff pain may correlate with injury or inflammation in your joints. Todd Ellenbecker, a physiotherapist in Arizona, recommends trying seated rowing exercises, where you pull elastic tubing back by your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together for a great stretch.
While joint pain may seem debilitating, holding you back from partaking in everyday activities, gentle exercises may be able to provide some relief from the discomfort. Before you try any of these exercises, it's important to first talk to your doctor to rule out any injuries or severe joint problems that require a more intense form of treatment, like medication or surgery.
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