Those eager to lose weight or get healthy may want to grab their shoes and head out to pound the pavement. However, many are surprised when they discover that their hips, knees and ankles hurt the next day. Instead of unbalanced and unprepared exercise, some simple strategies can help individuals exercising while still keeping their joints healthy for years to come.
Do Use Weights Correctly
Of course, weight lifting strengthens the muscles and bones, but it can also improve joint strength and stability. However, individuals just beginning weight lifting should use a personal trainer initially to learn proper form. Lifting weights with poor form can lead to strained muscles and pulled joints.
Do Mix Up Workouts
Repetitive movements can weaken and wear out the joints. Instead of focusing solely on one favorite workout, individuals are encouraged to choose a variety of workouts. Many gyms offer classes that will let people see what they enjoy. Some fun options to try that are easy on the joints include yoga, barre and low-impact cross-training.
Do Not Over-Exercise
Individuals know that they have exercised too much when they continue experiencing pain in the affected joints and muscles more than 48 hours after completing the workout. Be sure not to exercise the same areas two days in a row. Instead, mix up arm, leg, core and cardio workouts throughout the week.
Do Practice Stretching
Exercisers should always warm up before working out to get the joints lubricated and the muscles warm and elastic. At the end of a workout, stretching will loosen tight joints and improve one’s range of motion. Some workouts, such as Pilates and yoga focus entirely on strength and stretching.
Do Choose Plenty of Low-Impact Activities
Individuals who have been diagnosed with joint issues, those who are beginning to feel twinges of pain in the joints and those who are getting older should choose low-impact moves over high-impact options. For example, walking is a great alternative to running while biking and swimming can be good alternatives to joint-jarring aerobic workouts. Many types of exercise equipment are designed with low-impact moves in mind. Consider using an elliptical, stair climber or stationary bike.
Do Lose Weight
Losing weight can take a great deal of stress off the joints, particularly those of the legs and feet. In fact, losing one pound of body weight can eliminate four pounds of pressure on the knees. Your doctor can help determine what a healthy body weight should be.
Do See a Podiatrist or Physical Therapist
A podiatrist deals with issues of the feet while a physical therapist works with joints and muscles to get them back into shape and to restore proper range of motion. When feet are injured, a podiatrist can provide treatment to regain painless movement of the joints of the feet or by giving temporary braces that can mobilize the feet and allow them to recover. Additionally, podiatrists and physical therapists can provide patients with specific exercises to target their joints for improved strength and mobility.
Joints can gradually wear out, stiffen and become painful over the years if they are not protected from high impacts or are never properly warmed up and stretched. Additionally, repetitive movements can cause cartilage to wear out and joints to become painful and swollen. Choosing a variety of healthy activities that are easy on the joints can keep individuals enjoying their favorite activities for a lifetime. Those who already have twinges of pain in their ankles or feet should check with a podiatrist for treatments that will help them beat the discomfort and enjoy life.
This guest post contribution is courtesy of Quality Home Fitness, offering a variety of professional exercise equipment in Idaho Falls and the surrounding area.