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Have you ever wondered how many workouts your body will endure in your lifetime? While this may seem like an odd question to contemplate in our 20s, 30s and 40s, it’s an unfortunate fact that our joints generally wear out before our muscles. Therefore, joint pain and stiffness are top reasons why people quit fitness altogether. Expensive supplements might seem like the only answer for joint longevity, the reality is you can improve your joint health with some fairly basic movements.
First, it’s important to know that joints are present anywhere bones in your body come together, including your hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists and spine. The space between these joints is filled with lubricating fluid, and the joints are surrounded by balloon-like structures called capsules. When these fluids and capsules are pliable, they facilitate easy movement. But they can also be thick and sticky, making movement difficult.
Regular exercise is key to joint health, and so is warming up properly before you work out. You can start training your joints for easy movement in the long run by including the following four exercises as part of your daily workout warmup. Unlike lifting weights, which requires muscle recovery days, you can perform joint range of motion exercises every day to boost joint health.
Target: Hips and knees
Alternative: If it’s difficult to relax your hip and knee into this position, wrap a yoga strap or extra pair of sweatpants under your thigh as you hold the loose ends in your hands to guide the motion.
Target: Lower back mobility
Target: Spine motion
Alternative: If your wrists or knees are uncomfortable, put a pillow or mat under your knees and perform the exercise on your elbows; you could also perform the spine motions standing with your hands against a wall.
Target: Often overlooked (but much needed) ankle and foot health