1. Tipping the Scale.
Okay, it will sound a little obvious but, maintaining a healthy weight is really fundamental. Just like the frame of a house or car, your skeletal frame was designed with very real limits as to how much weight it can safely hold. Those extra pounds put additional stress on your bones and joints, which can lead to some significant health problems.
2. Stretch 2 Your Full Range of Motion.
Most of us don’t participate in daily activities which use our full range of motion. In fact, most of us use fairly limited and repetitive movements. If they're never called upon for full mobility and extension, as you can probably guess, over time ~ this restriction becomes the norm.
All of your joints will have a tendency to get trapped in their middle range of functional movement. When you find that you’re losing end-of-range freedom, it’s an early indicator of trouble ~ even if you don’t yet feel pain. Unless you’re sitting in class with an urgent need to get the instructors attention ~ you will seldom have a reason for taking your arm right up over your head but, making sure that it can go there, at least once a day, means that it will remain "freer and looser" and work with precision when it is called upon for motion in its inner range. So, you can see why it’s important to exercise the extremes of "non-useful" movement in every joint.
Stretch every single day. Hey! This doesn't have to be a stretching marathon ~ just a few minutes taking the pressure off of your back muscles and neck, manipulating your feet, ankles, fingers, wrists, arms or anything else that you plan on using for the rest of your life. Your lumbar spine for instance is designed to bend forward, and doing so gives the spine's discs a drink by moving fluid around them.
Each stretch can be as short as five or ten seconds. The point here is just to remind your joints and muscles that they do in fact still move (even if not very often). So, try daily moving your joints through their complete range of motion, as long as it doesn't cause you pain.
Never stretch cold muscles. Always do a little warm-up first. Stretch both before and after you do any type of exercise. Not stretching before physical activity will leave you more susceptible to injury. Regular stretching means that your joints don't just retain mobility ~ they'll stay healthier, more limber and show lifelong results that you may not have thought possible.
3. Do Regular Weight Bearing Exercise.
Think of it this way ~ when you regularly do weight-bearing exercise it requires that your bones rise to the challenge and grow stronger in anticipation of supporting those loads again and thicker bones will mean fewer joint problems down the road.
It’s simply not possible for you to maintain strong joints without healthy muscles to back them up. Your muscles and the connective tissues that surround joints provide stability, support and even guidance through the range of motion. What’s considered a weight bearing exercise? ~Any activity using either the weight of your body or outside weights to put stress on your bones and muscles. Consider activities like brisk walking, tennis, dancing or yoga. This kind of exercise will also improve your balance, which means that your joints will be less likely to sustain trauma after a fall. Gaining muscle also helps you lose weight, which was our number one joint health tip.
Always get an ‘all clear’ from your doctor and seek the advice and guidance of a personal trainer to show you how to properly perform exercises that build the muscle that you need to protect your joints ~ lifting weights the wrong way is worse than not doing it at all. So don't just jump in carelessly.
4. Keep Your High Impact Exercise at a Minimum.
You know that exercise is good for keeping your bones and joints in shape, but high impact exercise can jar your joints and bones, resulting in injuries to them as well as, your cartilage and the surrounding ligaments and muscles. Your better solution is to find several low impact exercises such as resistance training, walking on a treadmill or bike riding to help keep your joints moving fluidly without risk of serious injury that can side-line you and cause problems with injured joints as years go by. Always make sure that you get 20mins of cardio exercise a few days each week, as this helps your blood supply needed oxygen throughout your body (including joints).
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About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best. www.NuDay.org