Joe Fleming reviews the nine workout habits that might be causing your joint pain or making it worse.
Millions of people worldwide suffer from chronic joint pain. In response to the increase in cases of joint pain, a lot of research has come out proclaiming that exercise is very good for providing relief.
It specifically helps reduce inflammation and strengthens the muscles, tendons, and other tissues that support the joints.
While exercise is great for relieving joint pain, it is important to realize that not all forms of exercise are created equal when it comes to getting rid of and preventing pain.
If you have been exercising regularly but are still suffering from joint pain, your habits might be to blame. Read on to learn about nine workout habits that could be causing or making your joint pain worse.
Wearing the Wrong Shoes
Unsupportive footwear can seriously exacerbate any joint pain you are already experiencing. This is especially true if you struggle with pain in your knees or ankles.
You can also create issues if you wear the wrong shoes for a specific activity.
For example, wearing overly padded shoes while weight lifting can negatively affect your form. On the other hand, wearing shoes that are too flat during cardio can put too much strain on your joints.
Improper Workout Fuel
Exercise is great for reducing inflammation. But, whether you are trying to lose weight or just minimize stiffness and swelling, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet.
Make sure you are fuelling your body properly for your workouts. This means eliminating (or at least significantly reducing your consumption of) processed foods, alcohol, sugar, and refined carbohydrates. These foods all are known to aggravate inflammation and pain.
Focus on eating lots of anti-inflammatory foods like berries, leafy greens, and fatty fish. Instead of refined carbohydrates, focus on eating whole grains like oatmeal or whole wheat bread instead.
Skipping the Warm-up
It is tempting to skip your warm-up and jump straight into the workout when you are short on time. This is one of the worst things you can do if you are struggling with joint pain, though.
A thorough warm-up prepares your body for the workout, improves blood flow, and gets your joints ready for vigorous activity.
Make sure your warm-up includes 5-10 minutes of light cardio like walking, followed by 5-10 minutes of dynamic exercises that mimic the movements you will be doing during your workout.
Skipping the Cool Down
It is also important to make sure you are not skipping out on your post-workout cool-down. When you have finished exercising, take some time to bring your heart rate back down. Do some light walking, then take 5-10 minutes for some static stretching.
Focus on stretching the muscles you targeted during your workout. This will help relieve tension and prevent pain and soreness the next day.
Performing the Same Moves Over and Over Again
Do you do the same workout every time you go to the gym? If so, you could end up wearing down your cartilage (tissue at the ends of the bones that absorbs shock) and causing overuse injuries. Over time, this can lead to issues like tendonitis of the knee, elbow, or ankle.
Focus on mixing up your workouts so you can give certain muscles and joints a break. You will also see better results from your workouts since you are giving your muscles time to repair and regenerate.
Ignoring Your Form
If you are ignoring your form while you work out, it does not matter how dedicated you are to your training sessions. Not only will you see less-than-ideal results from your workouts, but you are also more likely to cause joint pain and other injuries.
It is especially important to focus on your form when you are doing compound exercises like squats or lunges. Focus on keeping your knees behind your toes during these movements and avoid letting them roll inward or outward.
Pay attention to your feet, too, and make sure your weight is evenly distributed at each point during the exercise. If can be helpful to take your shoes off and do these exercises barefoot to really learn how to connect to your feet during the movement.
Overdoing High-Impact Exercise
High-impact exercises (jump squats, box jumps, burpees, etc.) are not great for people with joint pain. Even if you feel fine now, it is important to approach these exercises with caution, as they can also cause joint pain by wearing down the cartilage.
If you are doing these types of exercises, the form is crucial.
It is also important to do them at the right time during your workouts. High-impact exercises are best to do at the beginning of your workout, after your warm-up, so you have enough energy to complete them with good form.
Not Resting Enough
More is not always better when it comes to exercise.
If you are training six or seven days per week, you might be doing too much and making your joint pain worse (or setting the stage for developing joint pain later on).
Be sure to give yourself time to recover in between workouts. Your muscles will have time to repair and you will be less likely to burn out.
Skipping Strength Training
Strength training is the best form of exercise for preventing and reducing joint pain. It strengthens the muscles and bones, as well as the other tissues that protect the joints.
If you are only doing cardio, try adding two or three days of strength training in to mix things up and improve your results.
Place a special emphasis on compound movements like squats, rows, and overhead presses. These are functional movements that target all your major muscle groups.
As you can see, there are a lot of things you might be doing during your workouts that could either be causing or increasing the severity of your joint pain.
Take a look at your workouts and consider whether or not any of these habits have crept into your regimen. If so, take steps to eliminate them and see if your pain gets better.
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About the Author
Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Passionate about healthy lifestyles and living a full life, he enjoys sharing and expressing these interests through his writing. With a goal to inspire others and fight ageism, Joe writes to help people of all backgrounds and ages overcome life's challenges. His work ranges from articles on wellness, holistic health and ageing to social narratives, motivational pieces and news stories. For Joe, helping others is vital.
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