Protecting your joints while exercising

Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are great ways to improve joint health. But if you already have joint health problems like arthritis, exercise can be challenging. Before starting or changing your exercise routine, consider speaking with a provider at Good Samaritan Hospital. Our orthopedic specialists are second to none, and we also offer inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care .

Designing your exercise program
Your doctor or physical therapist can design a safe and effective exercise program for you. A comprehensive exercise program includes these components:

  • Aerobic exercise
  • Strengthening exercise
  • Flexibility/range of motion exercise

Patients with joint pain should avoid high-impact exercises, unless a doctor has said they’re alright to do. Some good low-impact exercises include:

  • Swimming and aquatic fitness classes
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Resistance band strength training
  • Tai chi

Improving physical fitness gradually
The general recommendation for physical fitness for adults is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on at least five days per week, plus strength training sessions. However, trying to meet these recommendations right from the start is a recipe for joint pain.

Instead, set reasonable goals with the help of your physical therapist. Depending on the severity of your joint pain and your overall health, you might start by simply walking for five minutes at a time, several times per day. Eventually, you’ll work your way up to more intense, longer workouts.

Using a supportive brace
Your doctor might recommend that you wear an over-the-counter brace while you exercise . The right style of brace for your particular medical needs can give your joints extra support while you work out. Braces may also help by providing mild compression and distributing physical stress more appropriately.

Strengthening supportive muscles
A physical therapist can show you how to safely strengthen the muscles that support your painful joints. For instance, if you have knee pain, you can strengthen your quadriceps with straight leg raises. Do single leg dips to strengthen the hamstrings in the back of the thigh.

Good Samaritan Hospital is a leader in innovative joint health solutions—both surgical and nonsurgical. Our orthopedic specialists in San Jose provide superior care that’s focused on improving quality of life. Call our nurse referral line at (888) 724-2362.

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