By – Palak Dengla, Chief Physiotherapist, Aster RV Hospital
Exercising is bad for the joints; thus, I don’t want to do it, according to a widely held belief. Does this sound familiar? Exercising is not damaging to your joints, according to research. In fact, evidence shows that exercises strengthen the joints by generating both healthy cartilage and muscular support surrounding them, keeping them stronger for longer, as well as improving hormonal balance, controlling blood sugar, and increasing muscle strength. The stronger the muscles and tissue around your joints, the better the support and protect your joints, and if you do not exercise, your joints will stiffen and become painful. It is critical that your muscles remain as strong as possible. If you don’t exercise, muscles shrink and lose their girth, they weaken providing lesser support to the joints which in turn increases their load on weight-bearing positions like running, playing, walking, standing, sitting, bending, and reaching out for objects. This increases the chances of slipped disc, early degenerative diseases like arthritis, and makes you more prone to fracture.
Moreover, the stability of your knees, hips and other joints is dependent on a supporting network of muscles and ligaments. Exercises that strengthen these muscles and ligaments will enhance your joints over time, making you less susceptible to injury. Weight is used in strength training to progressively increase muscular tone. If you’re new to training, start with bodyweight exercises and progress to weight machines, which give stability as you work out, before moving on to free weights like kettlebells or dumbbells.
The following are some exercises that should be performed correctly:
Squatting – Back up against a wall. The feet should be shoulder-width apart and your heels should be around 18 inches from the wall. Keep knees aligned with your heels rather than in front of your toes. As you squat, take a few deep breaths. Your buttocks should not fall below the level of your knees. Maintain a firm abdominal core and a flat back against the wall. As you stand up, push up through your heels rather than the balls of your feet and inhale.
Deep lunging – If necessary, cling to your support. With one leg, take a step forward. Make sure your front knee is higher than your ankle. Never let your knee move past your ankle. Slowly lift your back heel off the floor once you’re in a secure position. Continue rising until your back knee meets your hip in a straight line. Involve your abdominal muscles by tightening them. This will assist you in maintaining a straight back while you lunge. Your front knee will be overworked if you slouch or bend forward.
Running – Choose shoes that are robust and supportive. If possible, run-on dirt, grass, gravel, or asphalt. They’re not as hard as concrete. Pay attention to any discomfort. Take a day or two off if you are experiencing greater discomfort than normal and consult your doctor.
Jumping – A typical rule of thumb is to rest for two or three days between high-impact sports. You shouldn’t practice for more than an hour. Wearing a knee brace while practising may be beneficial. If you have slight discomfort or swelling after practise, see your doctor.
Walking or running up the stairs – Maintaining your stability may be achieved by taking it slowly and steadily. Assist yourself with the railing. If you use a cane, speak with your physical therapist about the best ways to use it on the stairs. Begin with a shorter workout and gradually increase the duration. Doing too much too soon might be dangerous. To fit your demands, adjust the rising height.
To discover which option is best for you, consult with your Physiotherapist. They can provide particular recommendations as well as advice on best practices.