As we age, our joints may hinder us from some of the things we love to do. Repetitive motions, past injuries, or just years of wear and tear, can all lead to affecting our activity levels. Some may just accept it as a simple fact of life, but it may not have to be that way. The best approach is a proactive one: gentle stretching and a joint-focused warm up before working out.
The goal for a joint-focused warm up is to stimulate the synovial fluid with gradual low-impact movements. What is synovial fluid you ask? It’s the thick liquid that exists in our joints that helps reduce friction.
Taking good care of our joints is our best mobility defense. Consider beginning your daily workout routine with any of these 5 exercises to support overall joint health.
5 Ways to Warm Up Your Joints
A brisk 5 to 10-minute walk is a good way to start a warm up. It gets our blood flowing, brings some heat into the muscles, and can prime the body for the movement to come. Try to move the arms and flex the hands and wrists a few times to also warm up the upper joints.
Yoga provides a wide range of health benefits, not the least of which is an increased range of motion. Yoga’s combination of gentle stretching and mindful breathing can help warm up the joints and checks in with the body before diving into a workout. Pay attention to any areas that are painful or tight, so you can take extra care during your workout.
10 minutes on the elliptical can provide a great low-impact warm up. The suspension of the foot pedals guides the lower body through the movement so it’s easier on joints than high-impact exercises like running or stair climbing. Start at a slow, comfortable pace and work your way up to a moderate speed, getting the heart rate up and joints ready for a workout.
4. Dynamic Stretching
During your warm up, take a few minutes to perform a few dynamic (moving) stretches. Air squats, walking lunges, arm circles, and trunk rotations are great stretches to perform before any workout. Just make sure that you’re taking your time and fully stretching with each motion. Aim for 10-20 reps of each stretch before moving on to the next one.
Cycling, whether outdoors or in the gym, is a good way to warm up without putting unnecessary strain on the joints. Like the elliptical, the pedals guide the lower body through the motion, making this an ideal low-impact warm up.
Taking care of your joints today offers the possibility of less limitations in the future. If you’re already working out and eating a balanced diet, you’re on the right track! Supporting your healthy lifestyle with a quality joint supplement can support your efforts. Check out our great joint products here.