Protecting those Joints during Exercise!

We all know how important it is to reduce wear and tear on your joints. Joint pains can be one of the biggest reasons to dampen a fitness routine, especially as we get older.

Like a gearbox in a car, it’s critical to look after your joints. Constantly crunch you gearbox and it won’t last too long, and your car certainly won’t be doing many miles! There are a few simply ways to keep you joints in top condition, and ‘prolong the life’ of these important parts, keeping you well and truly on the road to your fitness goals.

 Always warm up – Get your body ready to exercise. Even for less high impact equipment or exercise, like cross trainers or exercise bikes, always ensure you warm up. Try some stretching and dynamic movements such as shoulder rolls and ankle circles, and a brisk walk on the treadmill as well.

Don’t Rush – Progress gradually; rushing to do too much can place undue stress on the body increasing the chances of pain and injury.

Listen to your body – If it hurts, stop! If rest doesn’t help, then consult a doctor. Don’t try and push through joint pain, it’s not a barrier that you can break through.

Always wear the correct footwear – Maybe a no brainer, but you would be surprised. For example, if you are exercising in a Zumba or Combat class, you will need different footwear to a runner, or someone working out on a cross trainer. Also, protection deteriorates with wear, so try and change you footwear at an appropriate time. As a rough guide, running shoes will last about 500 miles before needing to be traded in.

Land lightly – When we are running or jumping, our body has to absorb forces equivalent to over 4x our own weight! Landing, with Knees and hips bent, and being in good alignment will minimises the risk of injury.

Watch your technique – Bad exercise techniques can cause injury over time. Have one eye on your positioning, technique and posture, especially as you near the end of your workout, when you may be tiring.

Maintain muscle strength – Conditioning and strengthening muscles will help protect the joints they surround.

Always cool down – As with the warm up, stretch and slowly allow the body to cool and fully recover from you work out.

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