Joint pain during workouts can be a menace that negatively impacts your ability to stay active no matter how old you are. Whether it’s a chronic problem or a simple issue of “landing wrong” on a knee or ankle, these types of discomfort must be taken seriously.
Oftentimes, avoiding exercise is seen as a solution to these issues. In reality, this tactic does more harm than good and increases your risk of injury and health issues down the line. As we age, our joints need to be exercised with care, and taking extra precautions like dynamic stretching should be done before each workout. For all the Weekend Warriors out there, here are a few exercises that are good for your health and easy on the joints.
Water activities provide better support to body weight than land exercises, making it an ideal physical activity to protect your joints. There are no hard landings in swimming, and the jolting feeling that comes with running or jumping is avoided. Alternating between a variety of strokes, from breaststroke to backstroke, can help ensure your muscles are worked evenly across the entire body. Swimming works to strengthen your joints and may also help combat existing joint stiffness.
Pilates is a low-impact, body-weight based activity that can strengthen your muscles without putting major strain on your body. Pilates targets the small muscles in your legs, arms, and core that many other workouts gloss over, and it is beneficial in restoring those muscles to protect against injury in other physical activity. Taking a Pilates class – either in person or virtually – is a great way to build muscle to protect your joints.
Both stationary and mobile cycling are good choices for those experiencing joint discomfort. A study by the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy found that after 12 weeks of cycling, participants with joint problems noticed significant improvements in the pain levels they experienced. This can be attributed to cycling’s ability to get the joints moving without the high impact strain of other cardio options, such as running.
Too much cardio in your routine? If you’re looking for muscle development, strength training may be a good option for you. Working with a trainer or researching to find exercises that build the muscles around your sensitive joint(s) can help you develop long-term protection of those areas. Proper form is vital when strength training, so make sure you feel comfortable with each movement before you pick up the weights. Start slow with 2-5 lbs weights, working your way up to 10-15 lbs as you feel comfortable. When done correctly, a combination of strength training and cardio such as swimming or cycling can keep you in shape and protect your joints from any future problems.
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