Exercising is one of the healthiest things to do if you want to lose that extra weight from last Christmas. Also, it builds muscles, which we know are supporting your bones (and prevents osteoporosis) and improves your cardiovascular health.
Even so, like any other thing that is done in excess or not in the right way, exercise can damage your joints, often making them stiff or sore after a workout. Even more, if the joint pain is severe enough, it can keep you on the bench for some time. The best thing you can do is to keep your joints, muscles, ligaments and bones strong and healthy. If you don’t know how to do that, here are 10 tips to follow:
- Focus on low impact exercise whenever is possible – There are many people who should never do activities that pound on the joints, such as walking, bicycling, swimming, yoga, or strength training.
- Don’t stretch right before exercising – Contrary to whatever we might have known so far, it is not recommended for your muscles and joints to stretch when they’re cold. Then what on earth are you supposed to do, you might think? Well, try stretching daily or at least three times a week, but not exactly before a workout.
- Focus on your muscle to support your joints – If you focus on your muscles, you’ll have better joints support. And this advice is especially recommended to people that suffer from osteoporosis. If you suffer from joints discomfort, avoid quick, repetitive movements, slow and fluid is always better.
- Improve your flexibility – Your joints are stiff and not so flexible? You should focus more on increasing your range of motion. The more flexible you get, the better your balance is.
- Keep your muscles and bones strong – Don’t forget about calcium and vitamin D! Dairy products are the best source for calcium, just like green, leafy vegetables, broccoli, and kale. In addition, your muscles also need protein. To verify exactly the amount you need, you should consider your age, sex, and how active you are. Good protein sources include lean meats, seafood, beans, legumes, soy products and nuts.
- Apply ice on painful or swollen joints – Ice is the most well-known and natural pain and swelling reliever. For a sore joint, apply a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel, and leave it for the next 20 minutes. You can also try it with a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel.
- Watch out for your posture – If you want to take care of your joints from your neck down to your knees, always stand and sit up straight. When you’re walking, pay attention to your shoulders to be back and your spine to be straight. If you have an office job, make sure you take a break every other hour and readjust your position. If you’ve ever gone to any specialized doctor, you’ve probably been recommended to try swimming by now. But the advice is great, as swimming keeps your posture aligned.
- Develop a strong core – By developing strong abs and back muscles, not only will you look amazing, but you’ll also improve your balance, decreasing your chances of getting injured. Pilates and yoga are great workouts for strengthening the core.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Did you know that the amount of weight your skeleton must carry around can directly affect your hips, knees and back? Just keep this in your mind: every pound you lose takes 4 pounds of pressure off your knees.
- Treat joint injuries right away – If you don’t treat a joint injury at its time, it might develop into something even more complicated, because it causes the loss of cartilage in that joint. A very serious joint injury might force you to stop doing certain activities.