Many of us struggle with joint issues, whether they are old injuries, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Osteo-Arthritis. Changes in the weather can exacerbate these problems, and pain rears its ugly head. Are there ways that we can improve our joint health, so we feel and function better?
If you are carrying extra weight, that translates directly to your joints. One pound of extra body weight equals four pounds of pressure on your joints, according to a study done back in 2005. “The accumulated reduction in knee load for a 1-pound loss in weight would be more than 4,800 pounds per mile walked,” writes researcher Stephen P. Messier, PhD, of Wake Forest University in the July issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism. “For people losing 10 pounds, each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in compressive load per mile walked.” Even modest weight loss will make a big difference.
If you decide this is a good idea for you, there are many programs out there to help you. I love the tracking apps, like LoseIt, and MyFitnessPal, because they keep you accountable. Weight Watchers, Atkins, and other plans have implemented healthy changes to their programs as well, and also have trackers. For each person, the approach that works may be different, so come and ask, if you’re not sure where to begin!
Protect Your Joints
The idea here is to pay attention to activities that particularly stress your joints, and modify as needed. Modification may include:
- Changing activities – Perhaps you are doing a high impact sport that puts a great strain on your knees. Choosing lower impact options will help you reduce wear and tear.
- Pay attention to pain signals – If your body always feels worn down after you play tennis, and you are hobbling around your house afterward, something needs to change. Doubles? Better shoes? A brace? Listen to your body.
- Watch your form – Proper body mechanics are a crucial part of keeping joints healthy.
- Balance activity and rest – Take a look at your week, and make sure you have a good mix of activities that include more restorative choices like Pilates and Yoga.
Strengthen Your Muscles
Strengthening the muscles around your joints will help to improve your joint health by providing better support structures. Your muscles must be kept as strong as possible. When beginning a program, you need to be sure the exercises are indicated for the joint issues you may have, and the weights should be kept reasonable. Pay attention to how the exercises feel, and be sure to not only modify when necessary for pain-free range of motion, but also work with moderation in mind. Balance is key.
Range of Motion
Range of motion exercises enhance mobility and flexibility. Lubricate your joints daily with movement that works through a pain-free range and you will find you are much more comfortable overall. This could include things like Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, and gentle stretching.
If you need more help to relieve joint pain, please talk to me and we’ll set up a free fitness consultation!Set up a Free Fitness Consultation
Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen
Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise related certifications as well.