Simple Exercises to Get Your Joints Moving and Relieve Pain

by Janet Luhrs

By Janet Luhrs,

Just because we have hit the big five-oh (or 60 or 70 and above) there is no reason for us to “act our age” (whatever that means!) and slow down. In fact just the opposite is true.  As we get older and have a few more aches, pains, and stiffness, it is even more important for us to keep moving and not succumb to the age factor, so we can live life to its fullest and keep disease at bay.

Regular exercise is not just about slimming down and getting toned; it keeps your joints fluid and battles normal pain associated with more birthdays. 

Most typical joint pain issues can be minimized and even removed completely with exercise. But if your joint pain is more acute, then I urge you to see your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying issue. For example, I was a Cross Fit fan until my knees started hurting and the hurt didn’t go away after resting for a few weeks. So I had my knees checked out and they were simply inflamed from doing too many squats and lunges without building up other parts of my body to keep my knees strong. I worked with a physical therapist for awhile who helped me see how so much in my body is connected – if one part is weak, the other parts shift to compensate. 

In most cases though, you don’t need to see a physical therapist to get moving. Keep it simple by making sure your exercise throughout the week includes the following three areas:

  • Resistance
  • Range of motion
  • Cardiovascular

Resistance exercises challenge, strengthen, and stretch your muscles by using resistance bands, free weights, or strength training machines.  Resistance can also be accomplished with your own body weight and no other equipment is needed. Check out some of these simple bodyweight exercises to get you started. Also consider getting a simple set of resistance bands and give your whole body a great workout with not much fuss.

Examples that you can do right at home are as follows:

  • Standing squats
  • Pushups
  • Abdominal crunches
  • Triceps chair dips
  • Chair climbs

Range of Motion exercises will improve your joints’ flexibility and movement. You will begin to see improvement most immediately after increasing range of motion exercises 3-4 times a week.

  • Overall body stretching
  • Yoga
  • Hip rotations (either in a chair or on a mat)
  • Tai Chi
  • Shoulder and arm rotations

Cardiovascular exercises strengthen your heart health, increase lung capacity, and stimulate circulation. All of the following examples will also build muscle in various ways.

  • Walking or hiking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Cycling

So toss out your thoughts of slowing down and do your body (and mind) a favor and get moving. You’ll  see your aches and pains reduce greatly, if not disappear altogether.

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