Top LOW-IMPACT Exercises to do with Joint Pain
For those of us who experience joint pain, it’s quite difficult to think about exercise, when you have a lot of pain just moving around. So, in this blog we’re going to suggest a few types of exercise that you can do to help keep your movement fluid, which should hopefully reduce the severity of the pain.
The aim of this, is to start slow, and go slow. You don’t have to do major amounts of movement, you just need to move, little and as often as you can. The reason we experience so much pain with our joints is that with Arthritis for example, you have wear & tear general deterioration of the joint, which causes inflammation, and then, all the tendons, nerves and muscles tighten up around the affected joint to protect you, and to stop you moving. Whilst this is what the body needs, it can often lead to exacerbated pain because the joint and its surrounding muscles are being held in an abnormal position. So, the best thing you can do is to keep moving as much as your body allows.
What types of exercise are best for joint problems?
The best type of exercise for those with joint problems is SWIMMING because its not weight bearing, so you’re exercising with the least amount of stress going through your joints. All you need to do is get in & out of the pool and most swimming pools have easy access stairs into the pool. The motion of swimming allows you to lengthen your muscles (particularly in your legs) which helps to reduce any muscle spasms around the affected joint. It’s better if you can do front crawl or freestyle as its professionally known, because it allows you to have a neutral spine, but that’s not for everyone, so use a stroke you’re comfortable with. Aim to start with 10 lengths (depending on the size of the pool) or about 10-15 minutes initially and do this several times a week. Then, build up an extra 2 lengths every swim, every few weeks. You’ll notice your movement is better, your posture is better and hopefully, your pain is less.
The easiest and possibly the most popular way for many to exercise, is walking. The nice thing is, it doesn’t cost anything to go for a walk and you can go as fast or as slow as you’d like depending on your pain. Remember that if you’re in a lot of pain, a walk on a flatter journey is best, but as you build up your stamina & fitness levels, adding in a small hill or elevated section of the walk can really help.
- YOGA OR PILATES
Depending on the type of joint problem you have, yoga or pilates can help. Yoga is traditionally more about holding yourself in positions and stretching whereas, pilates is more of a gentle approach, again with holding and stretching but in our experience is a lot kinder to someone with joint issues. Obviously if your movement is restricted, you may not feel like a yoga or pilates class, but you can find lots of quality instructors that do gentle yoga and pilates exercises on Youtube. All you need to do is type in Yoga for leg pain / pilates for shoulder pain and a range of videos will appear. One of the Youtube yoga instructors our Head of Marketing (who has joint problems) recommends is Adriene – see the link to her pages: https://www.youtube.com/c/yogawithadriene
But just remember, that even if you’re note mobile at the moment, you can always do some stretches and movements to keep the rest of your body supple, even if you’re sitting in a chair all day, so just have a look at some videos on youtube.
Remember that your goal when you’re exercising with a joint issue, is to keep stable and keep moving. Under no circumstances should you do high impact exercise like running or jogging, you need to protect your joints as much as possible, to not put a heavy load on your joints but you still want to move.
Once you’ve adopted some of these Low Impact exercises, you should notice that you move better, your posture is better, your joints are not so painful & inflamed and that you feel better too!