Joint-friendly exercises offer you the benefits of physical activity while keeping your body safe from impact. What’s not to love?
Maintaining an exercise regimen provides conditioning for your body and tones and strengthens your muscles. It can improve your balance and add strength to enhance quality of life and experience superior joint function. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should choose activities you enjoy that limit orthopedic stress, which may mean fewer running and racquetball sessions and more community group exercise classes or at-home activities.
Move Your Joints
If you are new to exercise, your doctor may suggest starting with low-impact exercises performed in small increments of time, which allow your body to gradually adjust to physical activity. If you are not sure what to try, consider:
Watch your favorite movie in a temperature-controlled environment while cycling on a stationary bike. Take water breaks often and set the controls to occasionally add resistance for extra leg strength. For weight management, join a weekly spin class to bike with your peers and burn more calories as you enjoy a social activity outside the house.
Swimming for fun
Water provides buoyancy to relieve impact, making more exercises available to you during pool time. These include water walking, jogging, cycling and exercise moves, such as planks done using water noodles as arm support. A Harvard Medical School Special Health Report suggests exercising in a pool heated to 85 degrees Fahrenheit to soothe your joints.
Walking it out
Stress weighing you down? Walk on a treadmill or at a nearby school track for at least 30 minutes — taking breaks as needed. This activity actually provides needed lubricant to your joints while they move, creating a cushioning effect.
Joint replacement do’s and don’ts
- DO attend a joint replacement seminar before surgery.
- DON’T use tobacco products before surgery or during recovery.
- DO practice your rehabilitation exercises before surgery.
- DON’T drink alcoholic beverages during the 48-hour window before surgery.
- DO take recommended pain control steps advised by hospital staff during your hospital stay.
- DON’T keep symptoms, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, to yourself — tell your nurse.
- DO prepare your home beforehand, removing clutter and placing key items within arm’s reach.