10 MOVES TO KEEP YOUR JOINTS HEALTHY

10 MOVES TO KEEP YOUR JOINTS HEALTHY

We all know that it is important to keep muscles strong and flexible. But what about the important things that connect up the muscles? Our joints are just as important for long term health and ease of movement, so they shouldn’t be neglected.

The problem is that joints can’t be exercised directly, so moves for them need to be carefully targeted. This set of exercises will do that. Remember the three vital points:

  • Symmetry; joints needs to be worked evenly
  • Warmth – cold joints are joints at risk. Start your workout gently and build up that blood flow. If you are outside, make sure you are dressed for the weather.
  • Form – pay attention to technique, and stop if anything feels strained.

Repeat each move five times on both sides of the body, increasing as you feel ready. For circular moves, repeat five times each way.

For a change, let’s start at the feet.

1.     ANKLE CIRCLES

An easy move for a spare moment. Stand or sit upright, lift one foot and circle it from the ankle. Make sure that the circle includes pointing the toe down and flexing the foot up. Both should be as far as possible without straining.

2.     SUMO SIDE WALK FOR KNEES

Stand with feet just over hip-width apart, and tie an exercise band in a loop to that length. Keep the band taut and step sideways five steps to the left, then back. Sounds simple, looks silly and really helps to support the knee joints.

3.     BEND AND ROTATE FOR YOUR HIPS

Lie down with one leg straight and the other knee bent, foot flat on the floor. Take your knee out to the side as far as it will go without pain, hold, and then bring back slowly.

4.     HULA-HOOPS FOR THE LOWER BACK

Get your hip and spinal disc joints lubricated by hula-hooping! You don’t actually need a hoop – just stand tall with hands on waist and gently circle those hips. If you do have a hoop, here’s how it is done.

5.     CAT STRETCH FOR UPPER BACK

This tried and tested classic really works. Get on all fours with your back neutral – this will mean a slight curve. Then round your back upwards, with core engaged and head gently dropped forward. Release back to the normal slight arch. Do this slowly and gently, never rush it.

6.     WRIST ROLLS

Stiff and sore wrists from keyboards not only hurt, they can stop you doing other parts of your workout. Keep them comfortable with the wrist roll. With arms outstretched in front, spread your fingers and then bend your hands upwards. Circle in both directions.

7.    BENDS FOR ELBOWS

Controlled elbow bends really make a difference – weights are not compulsory. Start with arms by your sides, then gently bring your hand up to your shoulder and lower again slowly.

8.     ARM CIRCLES FOR SHOULDERS

A standing backstroke move is one way to do this, but we aren’t all that flexible. An easier version is to rotate one arm at a time, trying to keep it in a straight line by standing at right angles to a wall. The closer you are to the wall, the less space there is for your arm to come out of the straight line. Be careful not to hit the wall! Then turn and repeat with the other arm.

9.     POSTURE FLEXES FOR SHOULDERS

Improve posture and prevent the dreaded hump with this simple isometric move, working the shoulder blades. Stand or sit straight with shoulders back and chin slightly tucked. Then just squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for 5 seconds and gently release.

10. NECK CIRCLES

Modern life is really not good for our posture. If your neck is suffering from your phone, try this:

Stand tall, with feet shoulder-width apart, stomach in and shoulders back. Drop your chin to your chest, then roll your head gently to the right, back and to the left. Keep your neck circles slow and fluid.

That’s ten easy moves to help keep movement easy. Here’s to flexibility! 


The Author

Jessica Ward

Jessica lives in South West London. Boxercise, yoga, pilates, weight training and long distance running are her main interests.

Comments

craig t.
10 April 2016

craig t.

Thank you - these are great, and you can do quite a few sat down at the computer too. Anything which isn't pounding on an individual muscle or joint is good in my book.

Clare R.
7 April 2016

Clare R.

just worked through these - wow, I feel good! Very relaxing.

Sarah L.
5 April 2016

Sarah L.

the sumo side walk is so much harder than it sounds! But I can almost feel it pulling my knee joints into place, and their sigh of relief afterwards.

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