Numerous studies have shown the positive impact exercise has on joint health. Exercise, even intensive exercise, seems to help increase mobility and improve the quality of life. But start slow so you don’t injure yourself. Start with this simple 10-15 minute routine two times a day:
- Breathe: While you might want to consider this as a separate warm up exercise, breathing correctly is important to each of the following motions. Take deep breaths deep into your abdomen and slowly let them out to help you relax into the stretches.
- First some simple stretches: Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart and reach your hands to the ceiling. Hold your wrist and bend just a bit to one side and then come to center, still stretching up. Do the same to the other side. Then try touching your toes. Do these stretches slowly without “bouncing” and don’t go beyond a healthy ache. If you feel any twinge, stop.
- Next, rotations: bring your feet to shoulder-width apart and put your hands on your knees, bending them slightly. Rotate your knees in small circles in one direction and then in the other. Finally, stand up straight again and put your hands on your hips. Slowly turn your whole body to one side and then back to center and then the other side.
- For muscle building, start with some gentle squats. Holding a chair back to the side for support, with your feet shoulder-width apart, slowly bend your knees and then straighten them. And make sure you don’t go too low – Don’t let your knees block your view of your toes. Do a set of 10.
- Then try a couple calf raises. Holding the back of the chair or the wall, go up on your toes and then come down. Do this about 10 times.
- Finally, stand facing the wall with your palms against the wall. Slowly bend your elbows allowing your face to come to the wall: Like a vertical push up. Do this about 5 times.
Do this circuit 2 times and then repeat it later in the day. After doing this for a few weeks, you’ll be ready to add a 10-minute walk to your routine. Eventually, you can build up to a 30-minute brisk walk.
Make sure you do an extra stretch of your Achilles tendon before and after walking: Place both hands against the wall, standing an arms length away from the wall. Step forward, placing the foot close to the wall. Slowly bend your front knee and go into a lunge, keeping the back leg extended. Go just far enough to feel the stretch on your back leg. Switch legs.
A little soreness or stiffness is normal in the beginning, but if you feel any twinges or pain that makes it hard to move. Stop. Take a few days off and build back slowly. Supplementing with a high quality nutritional supplement may help support your body’s ability to lubricate joints naturally.