Our joints can wear and give us trouble as we age, but there are ways to improve joint health naturally and protect them from damage.
Joint health is important for us to live a long and healthy life. Exercising our joints falls under exercise on the wellness wheel of our fitness journey. Exercise is important for many functions of the body.
To improve joint health without medication or surgery, choose the joint that is affected and gently move it in the range of motion it has. Do not force it, only go in the natural direction. If there is intense, sharp shooting pain, stop. If it is burning beyond comfort, stop.
Remember, before starting ANY kind of exercise, consult with your doctor to make sure they recommend it.
If joint pain lasts for a more than an hour, think about the motion that caused the pain and avoid doing it. Let the joint rest and use an ice pack to the affected area as needed. Twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off will help reduce swelling.
Use light weights to work the affected area if it doesn’t cause pain. Do 1 set of 12-15 repetitions. When that feels comfortable, go up to a second and then a third as you are able to build up the muscles around the joint. They will help protect the joint.
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How to keep joints healthy as you age
Keeping joints healthy as you age is important. As we get older, our bodies aren’t as strong as they were when we were young. Bones and joints are brittle and stiff. Arthritis can set in. Injuries take a toll on the body. It’s difficult for our bodies to repair and takes longer to heal. You may need joint replacement at some point.
We need to keep moving, but carefully to protect the joints and keep our agility. Making sure we do range of motion exercises on each joint in the directions they were made to go will help us prolong the health of our joints. Light stretching, light weight-bearing exercises, and light cardio exercises will help a lot. Using the stationary bike, walking, and gardening are all great exercises.
How to strengthen Ankles
To strengthen ankles, rotate the right food clockwise 12 times and counter-clockwise 12 times. Then repeat with the left. Next, tap each foot 12 times. Then do a standing heel raise 12 times.
Stand on a pillow next to something you can hold on to if needed. Walk on dirt, grass, gravel, and bigger rocks. Start gradually. It’s important to keep moving on a variety of terrain to keep the ankle joints strong.
How to keep knees healthy
We need our knees to be flexible. The stationary bike is a great tool to keep knees healthy. It strengthens the joint and builds the muscles that protect the knee. It also helps build stamina. Bodyweight squats are great. Place a chair behind you to sit in and stand up. Do this 12 times. Stairs are a great way to strengthen the knee. Standing leg curls help build range of mtion.
Leg extensions help keep knees healthy. Therabands are a great way to add resistance and they are inexpensive.
The shoulder is not a durable joint. It gets used a lot. To keep range of motion, do the shoulder press 12 times. Raise your arm to the front 12 times. Raise your arm to the side 12 times. Extend your arm behind you 12 times.
Arm circles front and then backwards are great to build the muscles that protect the shoulder. Making a scissor motion with your arms to the front is great too. To add resistance, add light weights or therabands. You can also use water bottles or soup cans if that’s what you have.
How to keep hips healthy
It’s important to keep your hips moving. They are what holds you up. The stationary bike is a great way to keep the joints flexible without putting strain on the hips. Squats are good for hips as well. Swimming and therabands are good as well.
Tie a loop in your band and hook it on your foot, take your opposite food and extend your leg to the front, side, and back 12 times. Then reverse it. Back, side, and front. I call this 3 points.
If you spend time taking care of your joints and building up the muscles that protect them, you will be able to live a much less painful and more flexible future. And we all want to keep moving as well as we can as long as we can.
And now for a joke: To all of you wondering if there is a cure for arthritis…I think I’ve cracked it. Ha ha ha ha.
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