My greatest weakness affecting my workouts is caused by weakness and pain in certain joints — knees, lower spine, shoulders.
What activities do I steer clear of? Any kind of wild and violent thrashing-around movements — I drop to the back of the class and do upright mountain climbers when everyone else is doing regular mountain climbers and/or burpees. My Zumba classes involve more shuffling around than leaping/hopping. I’m wary of jerky or fast up-and-down movements with heavy weights — I’ve found that Body Pump classes are an injury waiting to happen. I also avoid hiking up and down steep hills, per the advice of my Sports Doc.
To promote good joint health, I try to come up with workouts that concentrate on:
- Careful placement of all my limbs during aerobics.
- Practicing various exercises that my Physical Therapists recommended — I’ve had a lot of PT over the years to address different joint problems, always extremely helpful. But it’s hard to stick with it after the PT sessions end. Reminder: It’s never-ending.
- Lots of stretching — 10 minutes or more — after each exercise session (sometimes, beforehand as well) especially using foam rollers or a hard ‘medicine ball’ to apply pressure to muscles, concentrating on those pesky painful knots.
- Good posture on the treadmill and elliptical, avoiding TV-watching or reading which puts my neck out of alignment.
- Slow-motion weight-lifting.
- Putting stress on muscles with Pilates and yoga-type moves.
- When my joints are especially achy, I make it a point to go to bed on time and get lots of healing sleep.
I’m careful to keep my weight down, and my Doc agrees this is key. I notice that I can trigger pain in my knees and lower back just by carrying heavy bags of groceries, a box of kitty litter, or even a full watering can. Conclusion: My joints are absolutely screaming at me to not gain any weight.
Something I’ve not been able to make myself do is to supplement my diet with the things that are known to reduce joint inflammation, like turmeric and ginger root. So, with this post, I solemnly vow to pursue some of these easy remedies — I’ll let you know if I discover a magic potion that erases joint pain!
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