Why Exercise is Vital for Joint Health

Exercise plays a crucial role in maintaining joint health. They are like besties, peas in a pod.  Supporting each other, holding hands.  You get the idea.

As therapists, we're sharing this information because well, we know some things.  Exercise is truly vital for your joint health.  And here's why:

Strengthening Muscles
Regular exercise helps strengthen the muscles around your joints, providing added support and stability. Sounds, important, right?  It is!  Strong muscles can help reduce the load on your joints, which is especially beneficial for weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips.

Maintaining Joint Flexibility
Exercise promotes joint flexibility and range of motion- PERFECT!  When you move your joints through their full range regularly, it helps prevent stiffness and keeps the surrounding tissues flexible. This is important for preserving joint function and reducing the risk of injuries.

Enhancing Circulation
Physical activity increases blood flow to the joints, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen while removing waste products. Improved circulation can contribute to the health of joint tissues, including cartilage, which relies on the diffusion of nutrients from surrounding tissues.  We are still winning with exercise.

Managing Weight
Regular exercise is an effective way to manage weight, and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for joint health.  Extra body weight places additional stress on the joints (guessing you may have heard or even noticed this one), particularly in the knees, hips, and ankles. By exercising, you can reduce your weight and the strain on your joints.

Reducing Joint Stiffness and Pain
Contrary to popular belief, exercise can actually help alleviate joint stiffness and pain in many cases. Low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling, and tai chi can improve joint mobility, increase strength, and reduce discomfort. Additionally, exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body.  

Preventing Joint Degeneration
Prevention is the BEST!  Regular exercise can help prevent or delay joint degeneration and conditions such as osteoarthritis. Engaging in weight-bearing exercises, such as walking or weightlifting, can help maintain bone density and protect against conditions like osteoporosis.  

Let's talk about the obvious disclosures...  It's important to note that while exercise is generally beneficial for joint health, it's essential to choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level and any existing joint conditions you may have.

If you have specific concerns about your joint health, it's always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified exercise specialist who can provide personalized guidance.

Start simple.  Actually, just start.  And if you've started, keep going.  Your body and mind say THANK YOU!!

August 04, 2023 — lori glassbrenner