Three Exercise to Keep your Joints Strong

A joint (joynt) is where two or more bones are joined together. Joints can be rigid, like the joints between the bones in your skull, or movable, like knees, hips, and shoulders. Many joints have cartilage (KAHRT-lij) on the ends of the bones where they come together. Healthy cartilage helps you move by allowing bones to glide over one another. It also protects bones by preventing them from rubbing against each other.

Keeping your joints healthy will allow you to run, walk, jump, play sports, and do the other things you like to do. Physical activity, a balanced diet, avoiding injuries, and getting plenty of sleep will help you stay healthy and keep your joints healthy too.

Common causes of joint injuries

Joint injury can be caused by a number of things, including:

  • Running too fast
    Lifting weights that are too heavy
  • Not stretching after a workout
  • Not warming up or cooling down
  • Overexerting yourself in a class

How to protect your joints from injuries

To keep your joints healthy and strong:

  • Wear supportive shoes
  • Exercise the muscles around the joints to keep them strong
  • Warm-up prior to exercise and cool down afterward
  • Increase your exercise intensity gradually

The best exercises to protect your joints

Bodyweight squat

Protects: Knees, ankles and hips

  • Stand in front of a chair or bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower yourself to the seat of the chair or bench, touch lightly and return to stand.
  • Tip: Keep your knees in line with your feet and never let them extend past your toes or you’ll risk injury.

Assisted or unassisted pullup

Protects: Shoulders and elbows

  • For the assisted pullup, stand on the platform of a pull-up machine and grab the machine’s handles securely. For an unassisted pullup, start at the bottom of a pull-up position.
  • Begin with your arms fully extended, adjust the weight on the machine as needed and pull all the way up until you shorten your joint angle.
  • Tip: Remember to breathe normally as you perform the move.

Pushup

Protects: Shoulders and elbows

  • Start at the top of a pushup position with your hands shoulder-width apart, keeping your body in a straight line.
  • Lower your chest toward the floor, then extend your arms and push back to the starting position.
  • To modify the position, do a pushup on your knees or while standing, using a bar or wall.
  • Tip: Be careful not to sag your back while doing a pushup.

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