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Looking after your Joints with Exercise

Everyone knows about the positive impacts of exercise, with cardio and strength routines able to improve your health and upgrade your quality of life. Getting regular exercise is not always easy, however, with lifestyle constraints and existing physical problems often getting in the way. It's important to work through these problems, however, with arthritis, painful joints and stiffness responding well to the right exercises.

While cardio and strength routines get all the attention, flexibility is even more important as you age. Regular stretching is one of the best ways to improve your flexibility gradually without risking injury. There is no single "best" stretching routine, with each person needing to find solutions based on their own mobility and joint problems. It's important to start slowly and increase your exercise as your mobility returns. Your joints do not exist in isolation, so remember to work on the muscles that surround your problem areas.

If you suffer from joint problems in your knees, elbows or hands, a gentle warm up followed by sustained stretches can work wonders. Once you get involved in regular stretching, you may want to incorporate some yoga positions complete with breathing exercises. Getting involved with yoga doesn't have to be a big time or money investment, after all, it' really nothing more the combination of stretching, flowing movements, breathing and mindfulness.

Walking is another gentle activity that can do wonders for tired and painful joints. While some people may experience pain in their knees when they walk, regular slow walking sessions can help mobility to return and pain to diminish over time. A good pair of supportive shoes is essential, as is a water bottle to keep yourself hydrated. Along with being good for your joints, regular walking is fantastic for your mood, your heart, and your aerobic fitness.

If walking hurts your knees or you want something extra, water exercises can be a great solution. Whether it's a gentle swim or a weekly aqua aerobics class, there are lots of ways to stay active and improve your joints in the water. Unlike land-based activities, you don't need to hold up your own body weight in the pool, which means less impact on your knees and ankles. If you're looking for new ways to augment your water-based activities, gentle gardening and hand exercises are both easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

Once your joint health is getting better and you're ready for something a bit more strenuous, cycling is a fantastic solution. Unlike running, cycling is easy on your knees and much less likely to cause injury. Whether you buy a stationary bike or head out on the streets, the repetitive circular motion associated with cycling is a great way to look after your joints and improve your overall health. Whatever exercises you end up doing, it's always important to do strength training around the affected joints and build up slowly to avoid further problems.

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