Strategies for staying active with joint pain

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MAY CLINIC: I enjoy a strong lifestyle, from gardening to golf, cross-country racing and swimming. I also travel regularly. My knees began to ache, and I noticed some sadness. I don’t want to limit the activities I want. What can I do to reduce joint problems and cope with joint pain?

ANSWER: Joint pain affects people at every stage of life from student athletes to adults. Pain can be a major barrier to not only maintaining a regular exercise routine, but also getting started.

Recognizing the importance of exercise in your life, I recommend these four strategies to help you stay active:

Evaluate your current performance.

A good first step, regardless of your level of activity, is to set up an assessment with your primary care provider, or see a sports therapist who can assess your overall health level, overall mobility, and if you have a current injury or illness.

All of these experts can also conduct motion assessment work to evaluate how you are moving and show specific issues. For example, you may have more pain in one knee than the other, you may have less movement in your hips or shoulders, or you may be stronger on one side than the other. Such a test is important because it can identify specific corrective exercises that can be performed with a regular exercise program. These exercises reduce pain, as well as help your body move more healthy, exercise more properly, and reduce the risk for further injury or additional symptoms.

The results from a functional exercise test can also be useful in building a program that will be safe and effective for you and allow you to exercise without much pain.

Build a successful workout.

Whatever your fitness level, a good exercise program should be sustainable. Regular exercise offers health-related benefits, including reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, weight management, maintaining strength and flexibility, and supporting bone health.

It should also include a combination of activities, including:

  • Cardio, which increases your heart rate and improves your heart health overall. This includes strenuous walking, swimming, biking, soccer, or dancing or water sports.
  • Strength, which builds and strengthens muscles, improves overall performance and improves function in the gym, as well as activities of daily living. Strength activities include weight training; working with resistance bands; climbing stairs; and exercises such as push-ups, situps and squats.
  • Flexible, which stretches muscles and joints and improves range of motion. Stretching, yoga, tai chi and Pilates all focus on flexibility.

And, finally, regular exercise does not mean just going to the gym, doing class or following an online exercise program. It also means moving during the day, especially to break sitting times. This unplanned exercise can clear the floor, walk around your desk or do some simple stretching when you first get up or before you go to bed.

Personalize exercise for you.

Muscle soreness after exercise, especially if people are new to exercise and are working on improving their level of activity, is normal. But a sharp or progressive pain can indicate weakness or a serious problem.

Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Simplify your way to a new exercise program. Try not to go from 0 to 100 at night, since this can increase the risk of injury.
  • Listen to your body. Do not overdo the seed. Take a break or reduce your activities for the rest of the day.
  • Keep a small problem small. If you are experiencing recurrent pain, check it out.
  • Build in time to recover between work sessions. The body needs this time to rebuild and repair.

One strategy is to work with a therapist, sports therapist or trainer to determine the right and wrong way to exercise, or strengthen muscles to support a particular movement or joint.


  • If you suffer low back pain and if you can’t do a traditional back-to-back workout, you can do a modified posture: either squat (one leg at a time) or lift the back foot. These variations are aimed at the same muscle groups, but use external resistance through dumbbells or kettlebells on your side rather than on your back.
  • If you have knee pain, using a back lung or hex-bar squat reduces stress on your knees and allows you to stretch the same muscle groups.
  • If you are unable to do push or bench press variations without pain in your upper body, switching to a neutral position can reduce stress on the shoulder. Be sure to balance the arms at a 45 degree angle with your body to reduce stress on the shoulder and reduce pain.

Working with a fitness professional can help you develop a personalized program and your abilities.

When joint pain begins to restrict the activities you want, it is time to consult an orthopedic surgeon. Together, you will design a treatment plan to keep you moving and enjoying life. Orthopedists have a wide variety of options in their box of medical equipment. These options come from the least abusive, like physical therapy or medications, to further complications, including injections or surgery. Their goal is to bring patients back to the life they want to manage.

Break the fence.

Cooperation heat there is only one barrier to regular exercise. Others include:

  • Time: To start and maintain a regular workout, people need to take time off from their schedule. Recent research suggests that even short workouts of five to 15 minutes throughout the day can provide health and fitness benefits. Finding these small pockets of time and the right exercise can go a long way.
  • Knowing where to start: Doing online research for exercise programs can lead to meaningful results. Once again, sports medicine professionals can provide guidance for the program that best suits your goals. Exercise choices should be ones that you enjoy and that you can stand on.
  • Stimulation: Whether it is starting or continuing, lack of energy can drown out the motivation to exercise. One successful strategy is to review the goal as a reminder of why you want to exercise, whether to keep your grandchildren, happy or lose weight.
  • Being realistic: Build a foundation by setting goals that can be accomplished in small parts, with each building in front. For example, if you’re just getting started, wandering around the block can be a first step — not signing up for 5K.

The benefits of regular exercise are both physical and mental. Make sure you play long when it comes to exercise program. Find a salon work out which works for you for a long time and you can integrate into everyday life.

Question & A: Osteoporosis and exercise

2022 Mayo Clinic News Network.
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hintQuestions and A: Strategies for being active with joint pain (2022, July 6) Retrieved 6 July 2022 from

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