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The Top 5 Exercises for Joint Health
To keep your joints healthy and comfortable, you have to keep them moving. These five exercises have been shown to promote joint health and mobility.
1. Tai Chi or Qigong. Tai Chi is done standing up using smooth, weight-shifting movements over “softly bent” knees. The gentle movements of Tai Chi stretch, strengthen, and support your joints as you move in harmony with your breathing. Several studies have found that the practice of Tai Chi comforts joints, improves walking speed, helps bending ability, and makes self-care activities and household tasks easier.
Qigong (pronounced chee-gung) is an art of moving qi or chi (vital life energy) through the body. As the energy or chi moves, it releases blockages and improves health. Qigong is usually simpler to learn than Tai Chi, but has the same health benefits. In one pilot feasibility study researchers found that qigong comforted joints, eased stiffness, and improved physical function. Participants who did the exercises also saw improvements in aerobic capacity (assessed by a 6-minute walking test) and leg muscle strength.
2. Water exercises. Aquatic therapy, or exercises done in water, can be done in many different ways for a whole range of joint benefits. Water aerobics or swimming are widely recommended to promote joint health and comfort because the exercises get the heart rate up and increase blood flow to limbs and joints. Best of all, because of the lower weight load you get from being in the water, this type of exercise improves your muscle strength in a low-impact way. Aerobic water exercises target all muscles, including the deep muscles that are responsible for posture.
3. Walking. Regular walking is considered essential to keeping joints healthy. Several studies have also found walking supports cartilage in areas like the knees. Walking for 30 minutes a day is usually enough to support joints. Try adding light hand weights to your daily walking routine if you are able.
4. Strength training. Strength training uses resistance methods like free weights, weight machines, or even a person's own weight to build muscles and strength. One study from Tufts University looked at the impact of joint health after older men and women completed a 16-week strength training program. The researchers found that strength training comforted joints, increased muscle strength, and improved general physical performance.
5. Rubber band resistance exercises. Resistance bands made of stretchy rubber are a must-have for any active person concerned about joint health. The bands use your body’s own resistance to work the muscles and joints in their sockets. Exercises with these giant rubber bands help keep joints well lubricated, plus they support the bones and tone the muscles around joints.
For even more joint support be sure to fill your diet with joint-nourishing foods like fish and nuts, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant-rich berries, and vegetables that are high in vitamins A, C, and E like kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots and squash.
Nutritional supplements can also help keep your joints comfortable and flexible. Our advanced joint supplement, ArthroZyme® Plus, gives you powerful weapons to target the main triggers associated with joint discomfort so you can stay mobile, flexible and comfortable.