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Three exercises to strengthen your joints

“Joint health is important because it reduces bodily pain; allows our joints to last longer, reducing the need for a joint replacement or at least prolonging it; and helps us do our daily activities in a much more effective manner,” says Paige Jones, ACSM CES, an exercise physiologist at Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center.

Joint injury can be caused by a number of things, including:

  • Running too fast
  • Lifting weights that are too heavy
  • Not stretching after a workout
  • Not warming up before or cooling down after a workout
  • Trying too hard in a class

To keep your joints healthy and strong:

  • Wear supportive shoes
  • Exercise the muscles around the joints to keep them strong
  • Warm up prior to exercise and cool down afterward
  • Increase your exercise intensity gradually

Jones recommends the following three exercises to strength the muscles around your joints.

The Bodyweight Squat

Protects: Knees, ankles and hips

  • Stand in front of a chair or bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower yourself to the seat of the chair or bench, touch lightly and return to stand.
  • Tip: Keep your knees in line with your feet and never let them extend past your toes or you’ll risk injury.

Assisted or Unassisted Pull-Up

Protects: Shoulders and elbows

  • For the assisted pull-up, stand on the platform of a pull-up machine and grab the machine’s handles securely. For an unassisted pull-up, start at the bottom of a pull-up position.
  • Begin with your arms fully extended, adjust the weight on the machine as needed and pull all the way up until you shorten your joint angle.
  • Tip: Remember to breathe normally as you perform the move.

The Push-Up

Protects: Shoulders and elbows

  • Start at the top of a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart, keeping your body in a straight line.
  • Lower your chest toward the floor, then extend your arms and push back to the starting position.
  • To modify the position, do a push-up on your knees or while standing, using a bar or wall.
  • Tip: Be careful not to sag your back while doing a push-up.

“Remember, by taking the time to strengthen your muscles, you can keep your joints healthy and strong for years to come,” says Jones.

For more exercise videos and tips, visit the Living Better fitness page. To learn more about Piedmont fitness centers, click here

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