Your body has hundreds of joints that function as hinges where two bones come together, allowing you to bend, twist and turn around easily. Healthy joints should move pain-free, but for many, that’s not the case. Likewise, some exercises can be harder on joints than others are, but here are some exercises that can help keep your joints strong and flexible.
Warm-ups: Warming up is essential, so try some side bends, shoulder shrugs, arm circles, overhead stretches and bending towards—but not quite touching—your toes to get your body warmed up. Repeat each move three to five times.
Lat stretches: Stand upright, with your feet shoulder-width apart, your back straight and your arms overhead, holding one hand with the other. Pull upward while leaning over to your right side and keeping your lower body straight. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat two to four times. Switch sides and perform the same routine for that side.
Calf stretches: With your hands on the back of a chair or countertop, step back with your right leg, keeping it straight, while pressing your right heel to the floor. Next, push your hips forward and bend your left leg slightly. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. You should feel the stretch in your calf. Repeat two to four times for each leg.
Quadriceps stretches: While balancing on your left foot and keeping your knees close together, bend your right knee, raising your ankle to your hand. Grab your ankle, pulling your foot to your buttocks to maximize the stretch. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat four or five times on each leg.
There are many other exercises and stretches to support healthy joints, but these can get you started on the road to keeping your joints strong and flexible.
In order to avoid risk of injury, please seek advice directly from your physician, especially if you have existing medical issues, before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Also, be sure to stretch after exercise to avoid muscle and joint tightness.