Life can get busy and it’s easy to push joint health off to the side, especially when you don’t have access to a gym or a similar space to do exercises and strengthen your joints. At-home exercises can make joint care more accessible while increasing joint flexibility and strength.
Why Is Joint Health Important?
Your joints are the intersections where your bones meet. They often have cartilage in them that prevents your bones from rubbing up against one another, which is essential for comfortable movement. Maintaining the health of your joints and your cartilage can make your day-to-day life much easier by allowing for a full and pain-free range of motion in all your joints, including your knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and ankles.
If at any point you feel discomfort during any of these movements, stop and rest. If the pain persists, contact a medical professional to schedule an examination and diagnostic testing. For further advice or help improving your orthopedic health in Oregon, contact the team at Centennial Orthopedics & Podiatry.
Stretch and Warm-Up First
Before you begin any exercise, you should start off with a few stretches to warm-up. Dynamic warm-ups are an effective way to prepare yourself mentally for exercises. They also increase your heart rate and blood flow, enabling more oxygen to reach your muscles. Oxygen in your muscles converts glucose (sugar) into ATP, an energy source for your muscles.
To put it simply, warming up and stretching before you perform any exercises will make your exercise more effective.
- Fast Paced Walking: Walking is one of the best exercises for your body. A quick walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park is an effective warm-up that has many benefits for your physical health. If leaving your house isn’t a possibility for you, you can also walk in place for a few minutes as a warm-up.
- Ankle Circles: This warm-up is best done lying down or seated. Lift one leg and then slowly rotate your ankle by making small circles with your foot in one direction and then the other. Repeat the movement on your other leg. Aim for 20 to 30 circles for each ankle.
- Arm Circles: This warm-up should be performed standing up but can be done while sitting. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and then begin to slowly swing your arms forward in a circular motion. Perform this motion eight to ten times before repeating in reverse by making backwards circle with your arms.
- Hip Circles: This standing warm-up might remind you of using a hula hoop. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and place your hands on your hips. Draw a circle with your hips clockwise and then counterclockwise. Try to perform this movement 20 to 30 times.
- Wrist Circles: You can perform this warm-up standing or sitting. Whatever is most comfortable for you is best. Hold your arms straight ahead and slowly rotate your wrists forward and then backwards, creating a circular motion. Repeat this movement 20 to 30 times before moving on to the next warm-up.
- Head Circles: This is a simple exercise that can loosen tight muscles in your neck and shoulders. You can perform this warm-up standing or sitting, whatever is easier for you. Wherever you are, check your posture. Draw your shoulders back and down. Begin to slowly draw a circle with your nose in one direction and then in the reverse direction. Repeat this movement five to ten times in each direction.
After performing these warm-up exercises your muscles should feel relaxed and ready for the next step, multi-joint exercises.
- Seated Knee Extension: Sit down on a flat surface for this exercise. Draw your shoulders down and back. Keep your back straight. Lift your leg at the knee and straighten it. For this position, imagine your foot pushing flat against a wall. Hold this position with your leg raised for a few seconds and flex your thigh muscles. Slowly lower your knee and repeat. Don’t rush through the movement. Do this exercise in three sets of ten on each leg.
- Wall Sits: Wall sits are a great joint-friendly exercise that can help you build the strength needed for squats. All you need for this exercise is a wall. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your back toward a wall. Leave enough space between your feet and the wall for you to slide into a sitting position with the wall supporting your back. When performed correctly, it should look as though you are sitting on an invisible chair. Your knees should be bent 90 degrees but if you cannot get low enough, that is fine. Hold this position for three sets of 30 seconds.
- Glute Bridges: Lay on a mat on the floor with your knees bent and your arms flat at your side. While maintaining your knee position, slowly raise your hips upward. Hold this position for a few seconds and squeeze your glutes before lowering your hips to the floor. Repeat this movement for three sets of ten.
- Plank Hold: To perform this exercise lay on your stomach on a mat on the floor with your elbows underneath your shoulders and your feet together. Raise your body upwards by pressing against the ground with your hands and feet until your arms are straightened and your whole body is lifted above the ground. Tighten the muscles in your stomach and core and hold your body in rigid straight line. Avoid dropping your head at this point. Try to hold this position for three sets of 30 seconds.
- Push-Ups: Push-ups are a familiar exercise that are great for strengthening a variety of joints and muscles in your body. There are several modifications you can make to your push-up form that can make it easier. For example, wall push-ups or knee push-ups can be an effective way to build up strength until you’re ready for a standard push-up.
To perform a standard push-up, lay on your stomach on a mat on the floor with your elbows underneath your shoulders and your feet held together. Lift your body above the ground by slowly straightening your elbows and keeping your legs and stomach engaged in a straight line. This position should be reminiscent of a plank. Lower yourself until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle and then straighten them. Repeat this movement in three sets of ten.
Treatment for Joint Injuries in Roseburg, Oregon
The health of your joints is important for your enjoyment of life. Joints support your ability to walk, dance and play. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis, a sports injury or another condition that’s causing joint pain, the experienced physicians at Centennial Orthopedics & Podiatry can help you. We offer treatment for a multitude of injuries. Visit us online or call us at 541.229.2663 to learn more about what we can do to help you.