Exercise can be challenging in the fall for people with joint pain. The cooler temperatures can increase stiffness, making it more challenging to have an enjoyable, pain-free workout.
But it doesn’t have to put a complete stop to your livelihood. Instead, you can make a few adjustments to your routine to protect your joints and limit the pain of exercise.
Here are a few ways you can safely workout and protect yourself from pain.
Warm Up: Spending a few minutes warming up can make a huge difference if you’ve got sore joints. Flexing muscles around the joint can move blood and fluids into the area to offer lubrication and flexibility. Depending on the joint, effective warmups can be:
- Wrist or ankle circles/flexion
- Elbow of knee flexion
- Hip flexion
- Neck circles/looking up or down
Taking a few minutes to walk or cycle slowly before beginning your activity can also help boost blood flow.
Utilize Low-Impact Exercise: Choosing low-impact exercise is essential for people recovering from an injury or suffering from arthritis. There are even benefits for people with occasional joint pain. Some examples of low-impact exercises to turn to include:
- Cycling (stationary bike or outdoors on a flat, level surface).
- Walking on even surfaces (grass is best, but good well-padded footwear can ease harder surfaces)
Use Light Weights: If you use resistance training to improve strength and conditioning, opt for light weights. Light weights take the stress off the joints. Increasing total repetitions will make up for lighter weight (to a degree). Resistance bands are an excellent tool for at-home workouts.
Avoid Certain Movements: Deep squats or lunges can put a lot of pressure on your knees, and are best avoided if you suffer knee pain. Good alternatives include leg press machines, half squats, or wall squats.
Stay Active: Rest time is required to heal short-term injuries, but getting back on your feet soon after is essential to reduce further pain. Inactivity can lead to further joint pain and stiffness by decreasing flexibility and promoting muscle weakness.
Joint pain can be a hassle but doesn’t have to derail exercise. Make a few adjustments to your routine this season to stay active and limit pain.