Variety is the spice of life – and a savior for your joints when it comes to working out.
Many of us who participate in regular exercise tend to think of ourselves as a runner or a swimmer, just as a singular form of exercise. While any form of exercise is better than none, it is more beneficial for your joints, and overall fitness, to vary your workouts. Our own Dr. Logan Brooke (who worked with Olympic athletes) explains, “Your workouts need and demand variety. By varying your routines, you allow for balance to develop within your numerous muscle groups.”
Echoing Dr. Brooke’s sentiment is Dr. Skinner, of our Roanoke Clinic, “We need to keep our body strong through functional movements with our exercise, like lifting things off the floor and pulling movements because they mimic daily activities.”
Here are a few forms of exercise that you can rotate into your fitness routine. These exercises help keep your body strong and your joints free of pain.
Aerobic activity, also referred to as cardio, is typically what people think of when they think of exercise. Aerobic activity such as running, fast-paced walking or dance aerobics classes (like Zumba or Jazzercise) are meant to increase the endurance of your heart and circulatory system. These exercises are great, and very much needed as a part of your fitness routine. The Department of Health and Human Services recommend about 20 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per day. Luckily, there are many variations of aerobic exercise that include both low and high impact activities depending on your preference and abilities.
Strength training, also known as muscular fitness, helps the body increase bone strength and muscle tone of major muscle groups. Strength training can be performed with resistance machines at the gym, or hand weights and resistance bands in your own home. Your body weight can help too (push-ups, crunches and squats are a few examples) if you want an equipment-free alternative.
Along the lines of strength training, specific core muscle exercises should be a part of your regular routine. The core muscles include your abdomen, lower back and pelvis – the muscles that work in conjunction with your spine to help keep you upright.
Balance exercises can help work smaller muscles that aren’t typically used on a frequent basis. They also work your core muscles. Yoga and tai chi are two forms of exercise that feature balance work.
Flexibility Training & Stretching
Last, but certainly not least, are stretching and flexibility. You do these various types of exercise, work your muscles and joints all over your body – then what? You stretch! While used as a great form of cool down, stretching also helps improve your range of motion in your joints, promote better posture and help relieve stress or tension. It is important to note that it is always best to stretch or do flexibility work after you have worked out or at least warmed your body up for 5 to 10 minutes.
Not only is diversifying your workouts good for your joints, bones, muscles and heart, it is also great for your mind. When you do different things, your mind won’t get “bored” with the same old routine. “Diversified workouts are important for joint and spine health because the physical demands put on us every day are varied and having an exercise routine that includes different physical demands will give us a more well-rounded physical fitness,” said Dr. Skinner.
Dr. Brooke also suggests, “Often times injuries occur due to an imbalance within your joints, which push and pull you into a position where dysfunction occurs. Once here, the slightest movements will cause the joint to be painful and impaired. You are now faced with resting and seeking the care of a professional to guide you through recovery.”
We are here to help you prevent these injuries as well as help you towards healing a current injury. Call or e-mail us today to let us know how we can help you at one of our many locations.
The writing team at Tuck Chiropractic.
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