Exercise is often recommended by medical professionals as a way to reduce the pain associated with arthritis and other joint problems. Easier said than done, right? When your joints are on fire, getting off the couch to sweat to the oldies is not at the top of your want-to-do list. After all, it’s no secret that jumping around like a maniac to some dance fitness craze will only exacerbate your pain. The trick to reaping the rewards of exercise is to opt for exercises that engage the entire body while minimizing the impact on your joints.
Tossing your fitness goals out the window just because you have joint pain will do you more harm than good. Think about it. Even moderate amounts of exercise can improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles around your joints. Additionally, regular workouts can help control your weight, which can reduce pressure on already damaged joints.
Ways to Exercise with Joint Problems
Take a dive. Swimming and water aerobics are ideal workouts for people with joint problems. Water is buoyant, so as long as you’re in it, there is no pressure on the joints. Water also provides natural resistance, so improved muscle tone and increased strength are byproducts of using it as your primary form of exercise.
Strike some poses. Yoga and Pilates are low-impact exercises that are easy on the joints. Don’t let the low impact nature of yoga and Pilates poses fool you. They will whip you into shape like nobody’s business. Most of the poses require serious core engagement and muscle control. Yoga and Pilates also require you to extend your joints, which helps improve flexibility and strength. Regardless of what you see on television, you don’t have to bend like a pretzel to participate in Pilates and yoga. There are always ways to modify the movements to suit your fitness level.
Ride like the wind. A stationary bike is a wonderful alternative to running or jogging. This piece of machinery can get your heart pumping, build stamina and help you lose weight. It engages all of the muscles in the legs without placing too much pressure on the joints.
Some stationary bikes come with features that allow you to adjust the amount of resistance. Turning up the resistance can help strengthen the muscles around your knees, and eventually help improve the stability of weak or damaged bones in the joints.
Dealing with joint pain is certainly a challenge, but it should not put an end to your goal of being fit. Besides, regular exercise can help ease the pain associated with stiff, sore joints. Water aerobics, swimming, yoga, Pilates and biking are all ways to get a great workout without compromising the integrity of your joints.