Authored by Revere Health

Exercises to Support Joint Health

February 20, 2017 | Family Medicine

Joints are areas in the body that connect your bones; they provide the padding and protection your bones need to keep them from colliding.

As we age, however, our joints can wear down. The natural wear and tear our bodies experience as we age and certain medical conditions can affect our joints, resulting in pain. Fortunately, we can take preventive measures to help keep our joints strong and extend their lifespan. The easiest solution? Exercise.

Proper exercise can do wonders for your overall fitness, but it can also provide benefits to your joints. Here are some of the best exercises for joint health, and how they can help you deal with symptoms of joint pain.

Aerobic Exercise

Many of the simplest forms of aerobic exercise also double as great ways to help strengthen both bones and joints in the body. Most of these include moderate cardio exercises that can be done with limited equipment or supervision, such as:

  • Walking: Walking is great for heart and joint health. This is a common exercise for people with arthritis because of its low physical burden—many rheumatoid arthritis patients are actually at a higher risk for heart disease, so walking is a major benefit for them.
  • Hiking and running
  • Dancing
  • Biking: This is not considered a weight-bearing activity, meaning it will only have limited bone-boosting properties, but biking is excellent for strengthening muscles and the joints around them.
  • Swimming: Swimming is also not a weight-bearing exercise, but swimming is one of the best full-body exercises out there. It helps keep the joints loose and promotes the sort of weight loss that naturally takes pressure off the joints during daily activities.

As a general benchmark, you should aim for around two and a half hours of mild aerobic exercise each week. If you can manage more without straining yourself, that’s even better.

Strength-Building Exercise

Exercises to build strength can help maintain joint health and even improve it in many cases. Muscles help support joints as we move, and more muscle strength decreases the risk of pain.

Strength training, especially weight lifting or similar workouts, can’t necessarily be done every day—this could put the muscles and joints at risk. Aim for two or three times a week, and use these different days to work each of the major muscle groups in your body: core, arms, legs, back and and other areas where you may feel pain. During resting days, the aches and pains you feel are actually a good sign: They signal that your muscles are rebuilding to a stronger point than they were before.

Stretching-Related Exercise

Stretching should be a big part of every workout you do, no matter the type. Allowing the muscles and joints a chance to warm up safely before they’re worked is vital to protecting their long-term health. Basic arm, leg, back and core stretches should be a regular part of your daily routine, even on days where you don’t do a specific workout.

In addition, certain stretching-related forms of exercise are fantastic as their own workout. This includes things like yoga, pilates and related exercises that promote posture, flexibility and overall health. These exercises help you stay limber, and many people find a greater connection with their bodies through them.

How Does it Help?

Physical exercise is great for joint health. Benefits include:

  • Pain reduction (or elimination in many cases)
  • Weight loss: Fewer pounds means less pressure on joints, muscles and bones with every movement of the body.
  • Bone density: Good exercise helps keep bone density consistent as you age.
  • Balance: Exercise promotes better balance to help avoid falls and other accidents that might cause damage to bones and joints.

If you’re struggling with joint pain or other joint issues and unsure of which kinds of exercise are best for you, speak with your doctor for individual recommendations.

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“Exercises to Strengthen Bones and Joints.” WebMD.

“7 Exercises to Help Relieve Joint Pain.” Everyday Health.


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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.