Exercises that loosen your joints are important, especially if you suffer from joint pains, arthritis, or rheumatism. Stiff joints can make life difficult and painful. However, these exercises will loosen your joints and keep them limber and flexible.
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You can stretch your joints and muscles to loosen your joints and increase your range of movements. It’s a good idea to stretch in the mornings or before exercising.
Neck stretches: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips. Gently drop your head forward. Slowly roll your head towards one shoulder and back to the other shoulder.
Cross-body arm stretch: Stand shoulder-width apart. Cross your arm over the front of your body and hold it gently for 10-20 seconds. Switch to the second arm and repeat. Next, reach towards the sky with one arm first, then the other. Then, tilt each arm over your head slightly to stretch your shoulders.
Side stretch: Slightly bend your knees. Then reach one arm towards the sky, tilting slightly over your head as you slide the other arm down your knees on the side. Hold for 1o-20 seconds then switch to the other side.
Hamstring/leg stretch: Stand and lean forward as far as you can and try to touch your toes. Keep your knees a little bent to soften your legs and hold this position for 10-20 seconds.
Wrist/finger stretch: Bend your fingers backward and forwards, holding each position for 10-20 seconds. Do this for your wrists as well.
Swollen or sore joints do not mean you cannot work out to keep your muscles healthy. You can do isometric exercises as they keep your joints and muscles in one place.
If your joints are not swollen, isotonic exercises like weight lifting are good for muscle building.
Palm press: This is an isometric exercise. Place your palms together, the fingertips on one hand pointing upwards and the other downwards. Press your hands together and hold.
Abdominal contractions: This is another isometric exercise. Lay on your back and place your hands on your stomach muscles. Slowly raise your head and engage your core muscles. Squeeze the muscles that lifted your head.
Seated knee lift: Sit and place a resistance band over your legs. Slowly lift one leg and then alternate to the other side.
Bicep lifts: Sit on a chair with your arms resting palms up on your thighs. Hold light weights and lift them towards your shoulder, bending your arms from the elbow.
Stiff, painful joints or not, you need aerobic exercises that get your blood pumping and work your heart muscles. These aerobic exercises are easy on the joints.
Swimming: Swimming is a great way to exercise with stiff or painful joints as they take the weight off those joints and get your heart racing. The water gives your muscles resistance, giving you strength, as well as endurance training. You can add water weights to increase difficulty.
Cycling: Take away the risks of a bad fall or injuries by cycling on a stationary bike. Start slow and increase your tempo as you get better, and your joints become more limber.
Walking: Going on a walk is the easiest way to loosen your muscles. Start with short strolls then take longer, faster walks as you get better and stronger. Remember to stay hydrated and stretch before and after your exercises.
If you have an underlying health condition, be sure to ask your doctor if any of these exercises are safe for you.
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