Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is key to joint health. Being overweight increases your risk of having joint-related problems in the coming years.
Excess body weight puts added pressure on weight-bearing joints, which can cause wear and tear on the joints. This increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis, the most common joint disorder.
Plus, extra body weight may lead to inflammation in the body, which contributes to joint pain and other problems.
Exercise to Strengthen Joints
Regular exercise helps strengthen the muscles and ligaments surrounding joints, thus protecting them from damage. It even makes your bones strong.
Plus, exercise aids weight loss, which also reduces the strain and pressure on joints.
Walking, swimming and cycling are all low-impact forms of cardio exercises that help strengthen the bones as well as joints. You can do these exercises for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
Strengthening exercises like lifting light weights can be done twice a week, mixed with stretching and relaxation exercises.
Ask your physical therapist to recommend some range-of-motion exercises to improve your joint health
Strengthen Muscles around Joints
To keep your joints in prime condition, it is important to strengthen the muscles around your joints. Strong muscles in your legs and hands will reduce stress and pressure on these heavily used joints. It will also give the joints better support.
Strong thigh muscles can reduce your risk of knee osteoarthritis to a great extent.
A 2012 study published in Sports Health reports that people with knee osteoarthritis have significant muscle impairments. These impairments affect physical function and should be targeted in therapy.
Also, stronger abs and back muscles help your balance. This makes you less likely to fall or get injured.
Do some weight-training exercises to help build up the muscles in your legs.
Also, include core (abdominal, back and hip) strengthening exercises in your routine.
Pilates and yoga are great workouts to try.
Warm Up before Exercising
Before you start your regular exercise routine, you need to do a 10-minute warm-up session.
A short warm-up helps increase your blood circulation, which prepares your muscles and joints for the workout you are about to do.
Warming up even improves flexibility of the joints, so that your joints can move through their full range of motion. It loosens up the joints as well as ligaments and tendons around them.
If you exercise without warming up, your joints will remain stiff, making them more prone to injuries.
Do a light warm-up, such as jogging for 10 minutes, every time before exercising or playing any sport. Along with a warm-up, do some stretching exercises to further help your joints and muscles work properly under the strain of exercise.