The 19 Best Exercises for Bad Joints!
Our joints (your ankles, knees, hips, neck, and shoulders) love motion.
In fact, they CRAVE it.
After all, that's what they were intended to do -- to move!
As life goes on and we move less, things can start to feel different.
Our low-backs tighten and our knees start to ache.
We can't reach as high or as far behind us as our shoulders have lost that range-of-motion. Things feel painful and stuck.
Is it really just that we're getting older?
The answer is NO.
Your body is an efficient machine!
It only wants to use what is necessary and nothing more.
That concept especially applies to your joints, more specifically, movement and range-of-motion.
When it comes to the ranges of motion of your joints one principle holds true -- IF YOU DON'T USE IT, YOU LOSE IT!
The SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) is a concept that states that your body adapts to the stressors you apply to it.
Conversely if there are no stressors (in this case, movement), not only does adaptation not occur, you start to lose the ranges and freedoms you once had and your joints stiffen. Ouch!
One of the main reasons you need to move (in some form or another) everyday is to promote JOINT HEALTH & LONGEVITY.
Why does moving every day matter?
1. Range of motion maintenance
Like I said...if you don't use it, you lose it.
Think of your joints like the hinges on a door. If you don't open the door for long periods of time, the hinges start to get harder and harder to open. They lose their lubrication and start to squeak.
2. Your cartilage does not have a blood supply
By using movement, you are facilitating the surrounding tissue to supply oxygen and nutrients to the cartilage, as well as remove any waste products.
3. Movement in the right dose can be anti-inflammatory
Movement is medicine.
It's been shown to help lower your risk of various diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia.
The same goes for joint pain.
The right movement can have an incredible anti-inflammatory effect, like taking a dose of Ibuprofen.
The key to improving joint health with movement is to pick the right exercises at the right intensities.
What we do not want to do is go from 0 to 100 and do too much.
We want the right exercises to:
- Reduce stiffness around the joint
- Increase the joint's range-of-motion
- Increase blood flow to the joint
- Increase joint temperature
- Lubricate the joint
- Strengthen the supporting tissue
- Improve the joint's strength and stability
We've created a series of videos that cover our favorite movements for decreasing joint pain and stiffness.
Before you get started, here are the rules:
- Do these daily or before/after workouts. The more consistent you are, the better the changes will be and the better you'll feel.
- Do NOT increase pain. If the movement hurts, back off. Decrease the range-of-motion or intensity of the movement if need be and do what you can without causing pain. You will get better with these movements over time.
- Exhale through each movement. Our natural reaction to tension or a stretch is to hold our breath. This only makes us tighter though. Focus on deep exhalation during each movement to help further reduce stiffness and tension.
- Be mindful. Take your time through each movement and own it.
Pick an area of the body and start with 1-2 rounds of each movement during the day or before and after workouts.
Hit 5-10 reps of each or for :30 before moving onto the next exercise.