There is no doubt that exercise is important, but it can definitely take a toll on your joints. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. It can be difficult to determine how to keep your joints safe during these periods of extensive physical activity, but a physical therapist can help in providing you with proper techniques for remaining healthy and safe during your workouts. By following these simple methods below, you can make sure that your joints remained unharmed as you go about your physical exercise regimen:
1. Begin with a strong foundation.
Preventing injury always starts at the base. For example, if you experienced discomfort in your hip, you’d probably think there was an issue with the hip joint itself. However, many joint problems actually begin with the feet. It is important to wear the proper shoes for your gait, height, and weight, also taking into account your fitness abilities. What you wear on your feet doesn’t only protect the feet themselves, but they also provide needed support for your joints.
Shoes aren’t the only things that contribute to a strong foundation. As you age, changes in your inner ear may cause challenges to your balance. When you struggle to maintain balance during exercise, you place more stress on your joints. Physical therapy treatments are designed to address both your footing and your balance. By consulting with a physical therapist, you can help create a strong foundation for yourself in order to prevent any damage to your joints.
2. Practice proper form.
No matter what type of physical exercise you partake in, form is a crucial part of it. Proper form could mean the difference between physical progress or injury. Your ability to safely perform any movement, and thereby protect your joints, is reliant on great posture and proper body positioning. A physical therapist can also help you improve your form during exercise, by addressing any issues you may have while sitting, standing, twisting, bending, running, jumping, or lifting. Your physical therapist will create targeted exercises and stretches for you to improve your form and limit the amount of impact on your joints.
3. Maintain a healthy weight.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, every pound of excess weight a person carries exerts four pounds of pressure on that person’s knees. Therefore, if you are 10 pounds overweight, that equates to 40 extra pounds of pressure on your joints with every step you take. Because of this, many people who are overweight will experience issues with their joints. With help from a physical therapist, you can set up an exercise regimen that will help you shed some pounds and maintain a healthy weight, taking off the added stress on your joints. Your physical therapist will customize an exercise plan for your specific needs, which may include stretching, aerobic exercise, weight training, or pain relief treatments if necessary. This will help in reaching your targeted weight and decreasing pressure on vulnerable parts of your body.
If you are looking to create an exercise plan that will protect your joints, contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today. We will help you get started on the track to maintaining a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing your joints to the gym!