Do you often experience throbbing, aching joints? Do you have osteoarthritis or another condition that causes chronic pain in your joints? Old injuries, poor posture, aging and inactivity can all contribute to pain in your joints and low back.
Although hitting the gym is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re suffering from joint pain, exercise may be just what the doctor ordered to help you get some relief. We’re not talking about running a marathon, either. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise (brisk walking, strength training, swimming, cycling, etc.) can help ease your symptoms and keep you moving
How does exercise improve joint pain?
There are several ways exercise can help reduce pain associated with arthritis and other joint conditions.
• increases strength and flexibility in the muscles around the joints.
• helps maintain bone strength.
• gives you an energy boost to get through the day.
• helps control weight, which is often a factor in joint pain.
• can help you get better sleep.
• will improve your mood and overall sense of well-being.
What are the best exercises for someone with joint pain?
If you suffer from joint pain or pain in your low back, the key is knowing the right kind of exercises to help strengthen your joints and reduce pain. Low-impact exercises are best, as they won’t put additional stress on your joints and cause more pain. Here are a few examples of low-impact exercises for joint pain:
• Yoga: Strengthens muscles supporting the joints. Increases flexibility of the body, which improves effectiveness and efficiency of movement, reducing stress on the joints. Aids in weight loss. Improves circulation to the joints, reducing inflammation.
• Pilates: Focuses on joint mobility and stability. Creates balance around the joints. Increases joint flexibility. Works on overall body awareness to improve balance and alignment.
• Weight training: Helps to maintain or increase current strength. Builds strong muscles to support and protect the joints.
• Swimming: A form of aerobic exercise that helps improve overall fitness and cardiovascular health, without putting extra pressure on the joints. Aids in weight loss and improves stamina.
• Range-of-motion exercises: Practicing raising your arms over your head or rolling your shoulders forward and backward helps relieve stiffness in the joints while increasing range-of-motion.
Before beginning any exercise program, be sure to talk to your doctor to determine what type of exercises are best for you and your joints. Ask your doctor or physical therapist to help you find the exercise plan that will put the least amount of stress on your joints.