There was an article on the BBC today talking about the new recommendations around arthritis and exercise. It is no surprise to read that it is now recommended to exercise if you have arthritic joints and there is great benefit in doing this. The piece goes on to discuss how flushing out the knee and pain killers should not be used instead of a targeted exercise routine. It also goes into the lack of support, diagnosis and management of arthritic joints and waiting lists around hip operations for joints beyond repair.
Initially, with most older clients I probably spend about half my time and focus trying to sort out painful joints. Almost everyone comes in with some sort of pain or niggle. This is often labelled as arthritis but usually it is simply just misalignment of the joints.
For the 7.5 million people in the UK suffering with actual diagnosed arthritis then exercise can be transformative.
What Exercise Types Do & Don’t Help Your Joints
When it comes to managing pain the term exercise is a little broad. Almost every painful joint you have will usually be twisted or slightly out of alignment. It is this rotation or compression in the joint that leads to the actual pain you feel. To improve the pain you simply need to realign the joint. This is done by strengthening the weak muscles around the area and releasing the built up tension through stretching or massage techniques. The key here is knowing which muscles are weak and what parts are tight. While the article cites aerobic exercise as beneficial, nothing compares to a targeted strengthening and stretching routine. I have seen so many transformations via a corrective exercise programme.
I have also seen exercise worsen people’s joint pains. Repeated impactful exercises like running/jumping can cause havoc if your joints are not in great alignment. The same can said for picking certain exercises that require too much flexibility for your current abilities, e.g. deep squats, or putting too much force through the weak area before you have had time to strengthen it. Rather than taking this as your green light to never exercise again what you should do is remove the offending activity until you have realigned your body enough to handle it. There is huge benefit in terms of bone density for running or jumping type activities, but only if not at the expense of causing localised immediate short term pain. It is interesting the article points out there may be initial pain on exercising which often goes away. This is my experience with addressing injuries too, there is a fine line and skill in knowing what pain is ok and leads to greater benefits and which is worsening the situation.
The recommendations also point out the obvious in regards to weight, carrying excess weight only worsens pain and stress upon your joints. I think this is another reason I have had such great results in helping people with joint pains. Alongside the targeted strength and stretching work they are usually dropping Kg’s which reduces the forces put through the joints in all situations.
10 Minute Anti Sitting & Squat Mobility Routine
For my online and face to face clients I have added a 10 minute stretching routine to the member’s area. This offer a solution to one of the biggest stressors on the body – Sitting for prolonged periods. Simply follow along with it if you have been sitting too much recently. You can access it in the member’s area along with the other exercise videos and support materials for motivation, focus, nutrition and stress management.
Photo – Clip from my anti sitting routine video.
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