The joints are the junction points in the body where two bones come together. There are two main types of joints in the body: synarthrosis and diarthrosis, which are also called synovial joints. In synovial joints, there is a capsule present that is filled with fluid that acts as a shock absorber. Synarthrosis joints are instead bound together by a fibrous material. As people age, the integrity of the joints can deteriorate, which can lead to pain and stiffness. One way to preserve the health of the joints is through exercise.
Exercise Can Keep Joints Strong – Exercise helps keep joints flexible and strong. It can also help you lose weight, which takes pressure off aching joints. Every pound you lose takes 4 pounds of pressure off your knees and 6 pounds off your hips. If you have any joint issues, ask your doctor before starting a new exercise program, so you know what you can do safely.
Warming Up Is Critical – Warming up with gentle movements helps get your body ready for your workout. Gentle exercises such as side bends, shoulder shrugs, arm circles, overhead stretches, and bending toward (but not touching) your toes are all good warm-up exercises. Repeat each move 3-5 times. Remember, there should be no pain with exercise — ease into your activity. Save the stretch-and-hold movements for after your warm-up or workout.
Get Stronger – Strengthening exercises such as weight training help you build the muscles that support your joints. You can use hand weights, resistance bands, or even a 1-liter water bottle. Start with weights that you can lift 12 to 15 times without slouching or poor form. Talk to a certified personal trainer to help design the best strengthening program for you.
Lat Stretch – Stand with your back straight and feet shoulder-width apart. With your arms overhead, hold one hand with the other. Pull upward while leaning straight over toward your left side. Keep your lower body straight. You should feel the pull along your right side. Hold 15 to 30 seconds. Do this 2 to 4 times on each side.
Calf Stretch – Place your hands on a wall, back of a chair, countertop, or tree. Now step back with your right leg. Keep it straight, and press your right heel into the floor. Push your hips forward and bend your left leg slightly. You should feel the stretch in your right calf. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.