Top 10 Exercises for Healthy Joints
Exercise is critical for strong
as people age, but studies report that when people exercise they are stronger
and leaner than others in their age group.
Joints are complex structures. They are designed to bear weight and move the
body. Joints require motion to stay healthy. Long periods of inactivity cause
the joints to stiffen and the adjoining tissue to atrophy. A moderate
exercise program that includes low-impact
training has benefits for all women, even if exercise does not slow down the
disease (osteoarthritis) progression.
Many age-related stiffness is simply the result of inactivity. In fact, in
one recent study, a group of nearly 1,000 adults enrolled in the same exercise
class over a twenty-five year period experienced modest declines in strength and
aerobic fitness, but no loss of
To keep joints strong, you need exercise for endurance which
increases your overall strength and improves your stamina. This allows
your muscles to handle more
rowing are some of
the activities that can help you build up your endurance without putting
too much pressure on your joints.
Here are some exercises that will help you to strengthen your joints:
Multiple Joint Exercises
Cycling. Unlike walking, running,
aerobic dancing and other
weight-bearing activities, bicycling is gentle on your joints and can be done
by people of all ages.
Climbing the Stairs. This form of exercise is probably one of the
most efficient ways of strengthening the bones, muscles and joints of your
lower body. What's more, stairs are everywhere, and they're free. You don't
need a membership in an expensive health club; the stairs in your home or at
the mall will do just fine.
Swimming. Even if you can't swim, you can use the pool for an
excellent workout to help strengthen those joints. Remember, if it's hot and
humid outside, you surely won't want to exercise. But a quick trip to the
swimming pool will not only cool your off, it can set you on the road to a
Individual joint exercises
both arms then rotate forward 10 times, then reverse and rotate backwards.
Start with small, slow circles and eventually increase the size of the circles
and speed of rotation as your joint becomes accustomed to the drill.
Chair lift/Elbow Exercise:
The bicep and tricep muscles are the large muscle groups that bend and
straighten the elbow. The biceps are located on the front of the upper arm and
the triceps are located on the back. To do the exercise, sit in a
straight-backed chair with armrests. Put your feet flat on the floor. Place
your hands on the armrests and push up with your arms lifting your bottom
slightly off the chair. Hold for a count of six. Slowly lower yourself
into the chair and relax. Repeat this strengthening exercise 10 times.
Door Opener/Wrist Exercise: This exercise stretches the muscles and ligaments
that rotate the forearm, letting you turn doorknobs, use a screwdriver, of put
your hand in your back pocket. Start with your forearm resting on a table,
palm down. Keeping your little finger on the table, turn your hand so the palm
faces up. If you use your other hand to help, grip your forearm, not the wrist
Exercise: Lie on your right side. Bend your right
leg, and rest your left foot on the ground. Slowly lift your top leg 2 feet
off the ground. Hold for five seconds, then slowly lower the leg. Repeat 10
times, then change legs.
Hip Adduction Exercise: Lie
sideways position with hips
and shoulders stacked, top leg should be bent over
the bottom leg. Lift the bottom leg up towards the ceiling keeping the foot
flexed and leg extended. Repeat up to 10 times on each leg.
Bent Leg raises/ Knee Exercise: Strengthens the inner thigh muscle
to balance the pull on the knee joint from the outer
thigh, which is often
stronger. Start this exercise using 1 lb. ankle weights. Sit on a chair and
straighten one leg. Hold for one minute. Bend your knee to lower that leg
about halfway to the floor (a 45-degree angle). Hold for 30 seconds. Return to
starting position and rest for one minute.
Calf Raise: This move builds
calf strength and ankle stability, as
well as body coordination and balance. Ankle stability is critical to proper
knee alignment. Place the ball of one foot on the edge of a raised object,
letting your heel and arch extend off the object stretching as far down as
possible. Hold on to a chair or the wall for support and keep back straight,
head up, and leg locked.Put other foot next to or behind leg being trained.
Raise up on toe as high as possible and hold for a quick second while flexing
the calf muscle. Lower to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner.
Repeat 8–12 times, working up to two sets on each foot. To advance: Add a
third set, placing hands on hips for balance.
Ankle Dorsiflexion: Stand in front of a table or chair. Place your
hands on the table/chair for balance Rock back on your heals lifting your toes
off the floor. Remain on your heals for six seconds Slowly return to standing
position Repeat 10 times.
Pose/Spine Exercise - Kneel on all fours, hands under
shoulders, and knees under hips. Scapulas anchored and Pelvis neutral. Breathe
in and maintain a long spine. Zip and hollow and (breathing out): gently
clench the left buttock and slide your left leg away until it is straight but
the toe is still touching the floor. Once the left leg is straight,
simultaneously lift left leg and right arm. Do not go beyond horizontal. The
pelvis does not move, and the scapulas remain anchored. (Breathing out):
Return the leg and relax. Repeat five times each leg.
Side Plank: This exercise is great for the lower back, and helps
the arms and ab muscles as well. Lie on your stomach on the floor, elbows and
forearms bracing your upper body. Your elbows should be close to your
shoulders, with your palms or fists on the floor. Lift your body, keeping your
toes in contact with the floor. Your weight should be focused on the elbows
and the toes. Suck in your abs and hold that position for a count of 10 to
start, and then gradually increase to 30 seconds, and then a minute as you
grow stronger. Do this exercise one to 10 times to start, decreasing
repetitions as you lengthen the hold time.
The key to preventing hip injuries is to strengthen the
muscles supporting the hips with exercises such as
leg press or
even stair climbing. For those with osteoarthritis of the hips, water
exercise and stationary cycling are ideal.
Flexibility of the hips is
equally important and can be enhanced with regular yoga and
Before starting with the above exercises,
assess the joints for misalignment or structural defects caused by the
injury. Your physician or therapist will check the joint alignment and tests for
weakness or deficits in soft-tissues (tendons, ligaments, and cartilage).
Correcting these deficits may require taping, bracing or possibly surgery. Once
the joints are returned to proper alignment, joint stability is addressed.
Your skeleton is in proper alignment when your head is centered over your body
and your weight is evenly distributed over your hips, knees and ankles. Your
spine has natural curves and links your upper-body skeleton to your lower body.
When there is an excessive curvature of your spine or an uneven distribution
of weight over your center, postural problems can occur.
Having a postural evaluation is essential in developing an awareness of your
posture and possible joint problems that may be occurring. Check with your
doctor prior to starting a strength-training or flexibility-training program.
Dated 10 April 2012