Bad knees, shoulders, and problems with other joints are common injuries and are often given as the reason for not exercising. Common wisdom has it that complete rest is the best way to heal a joint injury. However, in many if not most cases, exercise will actually improve your joints. Furthermore, stopping all exercise is a bad idea. Your overall health will decline, likely causing even more problems than you are solving. Read on to learn exercises you can do with bad joints.
Causes of Joint Injuries
Your joints are supported by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The most common cause of joint problems is weakness or injury in the muscles surrounding the joint. Exercise will help this problem a lot, and possibly even fix it entirely. It is also possible that the cartilage within or supporting the joint has become damaged due to physical stress.
Exercise will not help this problem directly, but it will improve blood flow to the site of the injury, and this will speed its healing. Exercise will not help joints that are painful due to osteoarthritis. However, working out using exercises that do not strain these joints too much will keep your overall fitness and health levels high.
The sled push (using a push sled) is an excellent joint-friendly cardio exercise. They are appropriate for bad backs, bad knees, and bad shoulders. They burn fat and also build lower-body strength. To do one, lean into the sled at a 45-degree angle while keeping your arms and back straight. Push the sled forward one deliberate step at a time while keeping your upper body and head still.
Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine ball slams are great for people with lower body joint problems. They are also great for cardio. To do one, lift a medicine ball as high overhead as you can and slam the ball down in front of your feet. Sink your knees down as you do the slam, and catch the ball on the rebound. Repeat.
Kettlebell swings are one of the best exercises for people with joint injuries because they mostly rely on the hips, glutes, and hamstrings for motion, placing minimal stress on most of your joints. At the same time, they offer an excellent cardio workout while developing your core and stabilizer muscles. Because of this development, they can improve a lot of joint injuries by strengthening the stabilizer muscles around them.
To perform a kettlebell swing, place both hands on the kettlebell’s handle and hold it in front of you with your feet placed at shoulder width. Swing it back between your legs a little to get some momentum growing and, when it returns, swing it up over your head, ending with your legs straight. Then let it swing back down and repeat.
Bike sprinting involves short, high-intensity stints on an exercise bike. This exercise is very low impact, so it is extremely joint-friendly. It is particularly good for those with upper body joint problems. They also burn a lot of calories and fat.
Swimming can be particularly easy on bad joints because the water supports your body, keeping your joints cushioned. This lets you get your heart rate going without high impact motions.
If you have joint problems, these exercises can help you heal faster and keep you fit. However, if you have any joint injury, you should consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.