A joint in your body connects two bones together. Several connective tissues make up your joints, including ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Exercising keeps you in shape and maximizes your health, but it also puts you at risk for joint injuries.
The benefits of exercise, though, far outweigh the risks of joint injuries. If you take the right precautions, you can minimize your risk of injury while maximizing your athletic performance. The key to protecting your joints while you exercise is to make lifestyle changes before you step on the field, on the court, or in the gym, and also to take precautions while playing and exercising.
Dr. J. Michael Bennett, an expert orthopedic surgeon, offers these tips to keep your joints protected while you exercise.
What you can do before you start exercising
Making sure that your body is strong and that you have the right equipment before you begin an exercise routine are essential steps for keeping your joints healthy while you’re active. Here are tips to get you ready to exercise safely.
Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
If you’re overweight, you risk putting extra stress on your joints. It’s essential to get to or maintain a healthy body weight, especially for high-impact exercises and sports such as running or tennis. In fact, one study found that there is a four-fold reduction in stress on your knee for every pound you lose.
Strengthen the muscles around your joints
Adding a strength training routine into the mix with cardiovascular and stretching classes can help ensure that the muscles supporting your joints are strong, which increases joint stability and reduces injuries.
Buy properly fitting equipment
Whether you’ve been exercising for a while or starting something new, buying and wearing proper equipment that fits — shoes, helmets, knee pads, or assisted devices such as knee braces — goes a long way in reducing your risk for joint injuries.
Keeping your joints safe while in motion
Exercise is essential for your health, for your well-being, and for keeping your joints healthy. While you’re running, playing, jumping, or swinging, keep these things in mind:
Don’t push through pain
While you may think that pain is a sign that you’re working hard and that you should play through it, that’s not good advice. Pain is a sign that something is wrong. If you feel pain while exercising, stop and rest.
Pay attention to your body mechanics
Using proper body mechanics or form while exercising puts less pressure on your joints and helps reduce your risk of strain or overuse injuries.
Try low-impact exercise
If pain is a persistent problem, consider giving up your running goals and trying low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, or biking.
For more information on keeping your joints healthy, call one of our offices or make an appointment online through this website.