Exercises strengthen the joints in your body. Moreover, the right exercises when done in proper form help to increase joint flexibility. As a result, you will have a lower risk of joint disorders and be a strong person as a whole. Furthermore, exercises are a great way to shed pounds. Note that obesity is one of the risk factors for joint disorders. Here in this article, you will learn in detail about the top exercises for joint health. Interestingly, all of these are simple and you can do them in your own home.
Note: If you currently have any joint disorder, you should first consult your doctor before starting the program. That way, you might be able to prevent or reduce the risk of the complications.
Common Joint Health Problems in the US: Are Your Joints Healthy?
Before we move on to find the best exercise for joint health, let’s have a quick look at the current status of joint disorders in the US.
According to the CDC, from 2013 to 2015, 22.7% of US adults had at least one type of arthritis, a very common joint problem that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and limits mobility.
As a matter of fact, obesity is a looming public health issue in the US. Considering how being overweight increases the pressure on the aching joints, exercises provide an effective remedy to both these problems.
Exercise for Joint Health: Where to Start
This is by far the most common question that people with joint problems often ask. Interestingly, the answer is simple. Start with a warm-up regimen. Here is what you can do before warming up.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Find a place to exercise. Then, start with some gentle movements that are not demanding or require any extra effort. Do a few minutes of side bends, shrugs, and stretches. These warm up exercises will prepare your body for the more stressful exercises to follow.
Once the warm up session is over, you should gradually up the level of the exercises for joint health. That said, you are moving to the core exercises for joint health.
Lat Stretch. Lats are one of the biggest muscles in the upper body. In fact, when your lats are strong, they will help the shoulder joint stay in a better health. This allows better movement of the joint.
- How to Do
Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Now, slowly raise both your arms as high as possible. At the peak, hold one hand with the other. Bend your body to the right side till you feel a stretch on the left side. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat the same on your left side.
Calf Stretch strengthens the calf muscle that lies on the back of the lower leg below the knee and above the ankle. That way, it makes the knee and ankle joint movements easier, and may also reduce the pain in these joints.
- How to Do
There are two common variations of calf stretch, sitting and standing. The former variation is more useful to the patients who have difficulty standing for a long time. Sit on a mat with your legs extended straight in front of you. Surround the toes with a towel and pull the ends of the towel towards yourself. Do this till you feel a stretch in your calves. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat for 2 more times. Alternately, you can do another simple version of calf stretch by holding your weight on the toes and raising the ankles.
Triceps Stretch. Triceps form the back of the upper arm and are key to a healthy elbow joint. Triceps stretch strengthens the triceps muscles by stretching them.
- How to Do
Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your right hand straight up so that the fingers point to the sky. Slowly, bend the hand downwards till the forearm is parallel to the ground. At this point, your elbow should be pointing to the sky. Now, pull the elbow toward your head and keep in the same position for 15 to 30 seconds. You should feel the stretch in the right upper back. Release and repeat on the left side. Do a total of three times on each side.
Quadriceps Stretch. Also called quad stretch, this is a famous exercise among runners. Nonetheless, you can also include it in your daily exercise regimen to walk better and protect the joints in the legs. Quadriceps are large muscles that form the front of the thigh.
- How to Do
There are three variations of quadriceps stretch. They are kneeling stretch, standing stretch and ground stretch. Considering the ease of doing, we will here explain the last variation. First, find a firm place where you can lie on your back. The best would surface would be a floor with an exercise mat over it. Next, hold your right knee and pull it towards the chest. Take care not to arch your back while doing so. Hold this for about a minute and release. Repeat on the other leg. Depending on your level, repeat on each side for 3 to 5 times.
Exercises for Joint Health: Do Not Miss These Things
While you may be excited to have started working for your ailing joints, do not overdo any exercise. The exercises for joint health mentioned above are gentle and should not cause any significant strain. Remember you are not training like an elite athlete.
Notably, consider the following while doing them.
- Focus on form rather than the duration or frequency of each exercise.
- Follow the instructions carefully and do not improvise on your own.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes and proper shoes.
- Do not overdo anything. After all, the exercise should improve your condition and not worsen it.
Want To Know More?
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