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How to Protect the Joints During Exercise


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Regardless if one suffers from arthritis or problematic joints, exercise is an essential part of promoting healthy joints with less pain. Through an increase of overall strength and flexibility, joint pain may become reduced, which in turn, fights general fatigue of the body. Many patients with joint pain use their stiffness, tenderness and discomfort, as a gauge to how well their body will respond to exercise. For many, the notion of taking a jog around the neighborhood or walking on the treadmill may seem quite out-of-reach.

In actuality, a lack of exercise may increase the pain felt in joints. There are many who are unaware that incorporating a light routine helps to ease achy joints and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise for a person suffering from joint pain doesn’t have to include racing to the finish line of a marathon or seeing who can climb to the top of a mountain first, but should focus on increasing the mobility, flexibility, and range-of-motion in affected joints.

When you have made the commitment to include exercise into your current lifestyle, it is important to follow a regimen that also protects the joints. One of the most essential approaches towards exercising with joint pain is to slowly ease into an exercise program that fits your current condition and limitations. This is especially important if you have been inactive for a while. Also, those who push themselves too hard will only overburden muscles and surrounding tissue, which further irritates joint pain.

Usually, when an individual exerts more energy than they think their joints can endure, there are often clear-cut signs. Before you begin an exercise plan, it is suggested to get into the habit of trusting your instincts and the signs your body gives off. Over time, you will be able to slowly increase the length and intensity of a workout, but first, you may want to consider the following tips on protecting your joints during exercise:

1. Before exercising, you may want to apply a bit of heat to the joints, such as warm towels, hot packs, or take a warm shower. Heat helps painful joints and muscles to relax by relieving discomfort before engaging in activity. Painful joints respond best to about 20 minutes of heat (warm and not hot).

2. To warm up, it is wise to slowly and gently move the joints around to get the blood pumping. Some individuals greatly benefit from range-of-motion exercises that last about 5 to 10 minutes before moving into the strengthening or aerobic portion of an exercise routine.

3. When exercising, slow and easy movements help to get joints used to activity. When pain begins to arise, it is OK to take a break. If the joints become inflamed or red, it is recommended to slow down your routine. If sharp pain or an increase in pain intensity occurs, it might be a sign that something is wrong, where consulting your doctor is highly suggested.

4. After exercising, ice will reduce the swelling and pain that may have developed in your joints. A cold pack applied to affected joints for 10 to 15 minutes should do the trick.

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