Exercise for Aching Joints
Severe joint pain and arthritis can be extremely debilitating conditions. Therefore, it is important for individuals to take measures to preserve and protect their joints throughout their lifetime. Exercise plays a vital role in both strengthening and protecting your joints, but may need to be individualized to the person’s capabilities and needs. It is always important to be evaluated by your doctor before beginning an exercise routine to make sure you are OK to exercise. Depending on any pre-existing medical conditions, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist to guide you as you begin exercising.
Avoiding motion and activity may decrease your pain momentarily, but over time, it only increases the stiffness of the joint and further limits motion. By combining strengthening exercises and low-impact cardiovascular activity into a regular exercise routine, individuals can help prevent joint injury by strengthening the muscles surrounding their joints. Some of the most common low-impact routines include riding a stationary bike or water aerobics. Then you can help support the joint by building some muscle around it with strengthening exercises.
Incorporating regular exercise into your life can not only strengthen your joints but can help you maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight causes added pressure on your joints, creating joint pain and/or disease over time. By losing weight, individuals can decrease that pressure and relieve the pain. While starting a routine is not easy, it is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can improve your overall quality of life.
Matthew Olin, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in Greensboro and a member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff.