Healthy joints make every movement you do throughout your day possible — and easy.
It’s natural to take all those easy movements for granted. However, you should understand that healthy joints are often at risk for damage through injuries, wear-and-tear conditions, such as arthritis, and biomechanical problems.
At MidJersey Orthopaedics, located in Flemington, Bridgewater, and Washington, New Jersey, our team wants you to do all you can to keep your joints healthy. Toward that end, we explain how engaging in aerobic, muscle strengthening, and flexibility exercises can help keep your joints strong and fully functional.
The relationship between exercise and joint health
Joints are the intersection where two bones meet. Furthermore, joints are stabilized by muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Each joint has a healthy compromise of stability and range of motion, but all joints require balance to function optimally.
Exercising on a consistent basis can help you maintain that much-needed balance, as long as your routine isn’t one-dimensional. Your fitness program needs to include strength exercises, flexibility training, and cardio to ensure that your joints stay strong, stable, and mobile.
With a joint-friendly exercise program, you can tone, strengthen, and stretch the muscles and connective tissues that surround your joints in order to relieve external pressure and promote natural lubrication within the joints.
Exercise can also help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, so the load-bearing joints in your hips, knees, ankles, and feet don’t get overburdened.
Exercise plan for joint health
To keep your joints strong, stable, mobile, and injury-free, you need to use a balanced approach when it comes to exercise. You can go a long way toward achieving optimal joint health by following this plan:
Aerobic exercise — also known as cardiovascular training — includes activities that get your heart rate up for sustained periods of time. Cardio training can make your heart stronger and promote optimal blood and oxygen flow. This is exactly what your joints need to stay in good working order.
Walking can be a great source of aerobic exercise, and all you need is a supportive pair of shoes. As you get more comfortable, you can increase the speed and intensity, or maybe you can find a trail and start hiking. Hiking across uneven terrain can strengthen the smaller muscles that are involved in joint control and function.
Other joint-friendly cardio workouts can include biking, cycling, swimming, water aerobics, and dance. You can also get a great aerobic workout from low-impact cardio machines at your local gym, such as the elliptical, stair climber, or rowing machine.
Resistance training tones your muscles, and strong, toned muscles can help keep your joints stable. You can strengthen your muscles through a traditional weight training program that incorporates resistance machines and free weights, such as dumbbells. However, using just your body weight can also get the job done.
Body weight exercises, which are done by moving or lifting your own weight against gravity, can help you strengthen every major muscle group in your body. This can be easy for anyone, since it doesn’t require any special equipment and can be modified for any fitness level.
In order to stay safe while doing resistance training, you should learn about the proper form and technique before you begin. You may want to consider working with a personal trainer who can tailor these exercises to your personal fitness level and teach you how to make your workouts more challenging when you’re ready to advance.
Flexibility training, or stretching, is what keeps the muscles around your joints balanced and adaptable. By taking a yoga class or doing a regular stretching routine at home, you can help your joints maintain their full range of motion.
Stretching the muscles around each joint helps decompress the joint itself, making it more stable and mobile. Flexibility training is also easy to modify to your own fitness level. If you find that a certain stretch or yoga position is too difficult, you can simply modify the pose to make it more comfortable.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can keep your joints strong and healthy for years to come, call 908-782-0600 or book an appointment online with MidJersey Orthopaedics today.