Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying active is an important part of getting older. As we age, joint pain can begin to interfere with our daily lives and the ability to perform the activities we enjoy.
Pain and discomfort discourage many of us from doing the things we enjoy and can make it harder to stay fit and active. But there are a few simple exercises you can do to ease joint pain, whilst keeping your body feeling fit and healthy.
We take a look at the best exercises that can help with joint pain so you can stay active in later life. We will uncover why joint pain occurs as we get older, the common symptoms of arthritis, how it impacts an individual’s life, and what you can do to ease joint pain. We’ll explore the 7 best exercises you can do to relieve pain.
How does joint pain occur? What type of arthritis causes it and what are the symptoms?
While joint pain is very common and can be caused by many reasons, it’s most often a result of an injury or arthritis. As we age the cartilage that prevents our bones from knocking together thins down. This is the most common type of arthritis and is called Osteoarthritis.
More than 50 million adults suffer from arthritis and symptoms can include stiffness of the joints, swelling, aches and pains, and decreased mobility.
How can exercise help relieve joint pain? What are the best types of exercises to try and ease the pain?
Range of Motion
To relieve the stiffness in your joints and increase your mobility, range of motion exercises are very effective. These exercises often involve moving your joints through their full range of motion, for example, raising your arms over your head.
For this to work, it’s important to move your limbs to the limit of their movement, rather than pushing beyond and into discomfort. The more regularly you perform a simple exercise like lifting your arms above your head, the easier that movement will become over time.
The best place to enjoy exercise without pain and discomfort in your joints is in the swimming pool. The buoyancy of the water will take the pressure off your joints and allow you to move freely and comfortably.
Many sports centres and swimming pools offer water aerobics classes so it is worth getting in touch with your local gym. A study found that aquatic exercises helped in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis.
You don’t necessarily need to go to the gym to improve your health and fitness. Spending time in your garden mowing the lawn pulling weeds or planting some perennials will help to keep your joints strong and healthy.
For those of us who experience pain or discomfort when exercising, the smooth motion of a stationary bike can be a great way to stay fit and healthy. As well as strengthening your knees, pedalling a bike will challenge your cardiovascular systems and improve your circulation, keeping your body feeling strong.
You can find stationary bikes at your local leisure centre, so ask the fitness instructor to show you how to get started and you may just find that this nifty piece of equipment becomes your new best friend.
A fantastic choice for regaining mobility in your joints, yoga is a slow and calming exercise that works with your limitations, easing into movements with a focus on maintaining body awareness. It will also help with coordination, balance, and relaxation.
Weight training doesn’t need to be hard work. Even lifting a can of beans above your head whilst preparing your lunch could be your key to stronger, healthier joints. The way to look at strength training is to focus on the length of time you put your muscles under pressure for, rather than the weight you are lifting. Try holding a can of beans out in front of you for longer than 30 seconds and you will see exactly how effective this simple exercise can be.
Remember to avoid exercising the same muscle groups two days. You also don’t need to perform these exercises more than twice a week to experience improvement. Many sports centres offer help and advice, so speak to your local gym instructor to find out which strength exercises you can bring into your weekly routine.
Walking is free and you can do it anywhere. Because your joints carry a great deal of your body weight while walking, going for a brisk stroll a few times a week will not only strengthen your knee muscles but also assist in bone density growth, helping your joints stay healthier for longer.
We have looked at the 7 best exercises you can do to help with joint pain and stay fit even when it hinders your enjoyment of some activities. Learn more about how exercise can slow down arthritis.