The key to preventing joint pain and the development of arthritis lies in prevention. Lifestyle factors, such as diet and activity level, can play a big role in maintaining the health of your joints.
Three of the things you can do to support healthy joints are:
If you’re already experiencing joint pain and stiffness, the last thing you may feel like doing is increasing your activity level because, well, it hurts! But, lack of physical activity can actually contribute to aching joints.
Stretching is an often overlooked aspect of exercise and joint health, but the benefits are invaluable!
Exercise helps keep the tissues that surround and connect to your joints (i.e., your muscles and tendons) strong and flexible. The more flexible your muscles are, the less tension they exert on your joints, and the easier your joints can move.
The best way to keep your muscles and joints flexible is to stretch regularly. Stretching is an often overlooked aspect of exercise and joint health, but the benefits are invaluable!
Stretching can be done both before and after exercise to help your body warm up and cool down. Stretching first thing in the morning when you get out of bed can also help decrease joint stiffness and prepare your body for the day ahead.
Here are some of the benefits you can achieve with regular stretching exercises:
Most stretches can be classified as either dynamic or static.
Dynamic stretches are movement-based, versus stretching a muscle to the point of tension and then holding it. They are usually performed before exercise to warm up muscles and increase joint range of motion.
Following are three examples of dynamic stretches that can help support your joints:
Static stretches focus on increasing flexibility by stretching a muscle until tension is felt and then holding that position for about 30 seconds. Static stretches are best done after the muscles are warm to reduce the risk of injury.
Here are three examples of static stretches that can help support your joints:
Before you stretch, remember to only move within your comfort zone. Stretching shouldn’t be painful. If you feel pain or have an existing injury, stop and consult with a doctor or physical therapist. Healthcare professionals can recommend customized exercises to support your joint health and overall well-being.