Exercise is an essential part of maintaining and improving one’s physical and mental health. Certain limitations may hold you back from being more active in your day-to-day routine, though. Joint pain is one such factor. How do you exercise when you feel moderate to severe discomfort when you exert yourself more intensely? Our tips for preventing joint pain while exercising will allow you to avoid injury and strengthen your body over time.
Warm up Before You Begin
Since you may not move around that much most of the time, you need to prepare yourself before beginning a workout. Warming up by slowly and gently moving the muscles you’ll be using allows your body to increase blood flow and temperature at those points. Your muscles then become more oxygenated and flexible while your heart prepares to pump harder. If you forego a warm-up, your body will be less able to handle the sudden stress, which could aggravate joint pain. Perform rotations with your joints to get them ready and start your exercise lightly.
Perform Low-Impact Exercises
There are some activities you can do that minimize the pressure on your joints while still allowing you to get your heart rate up and build your muscular power and endurance. You may want to move toward these more while decreasing the amount of time you spend participating in high-impact exercises. Two prominent examples include swimming and biking. With swimming, the water removes the force of gravity on you, taking the strain off your joints. Similarly, biking replaces the steps you take while walking or running with smooth, cyclical pedaling. You can also get an electric bike so that its motor can provide extra help when you are first starting to exercise regularly. Electric bicycles are advantageous for older or overweight individuals who need to build up their strength incrementally.
Target Different Muscle Groups
For those who physically apply themselves chiefly through weight training or controlled bodyweight workouts, joint pain can be an ongoing frustration. A tip for preventing joint pain while exercising in this way is to target different muscle groups in each session. Instead of devoting separate days to arms, chest, back, or legs, you could complete movements that work on various parts of the body. This variety reduces the tension you place on any one area and can thus alleviate the strain on joints. To illustrate, you could go from pushups to squats to crunches rather than doing pushups, bench presses, and incline presses in succession.