Stiffness is the usually the first sign that something might be creaking. Your body is like a well-oiled machine, but too much stress placed upon your joints might lead to injury. Strains, sprains, dislocations and arthritis can all result from a lack of joint care.
These are most common in the weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, the ankles, shoulders, elbows and wrists. However, with proper care you shouldn’t have to worry about joint injuries.
Increase your flexibility
Whether it be dynamic or static, stretching helps maintain the range of motion around your joints. To increase your flexibility, warm up all your major muscle groups before you work out and stretch after your training session, while your muscles are still warm. If you feel stiff, you can stretch during your workout as well.
Make sure to stretch each muscle three to five times and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. The key here is to maintain the balance between discomfort and pain in order to prevent any muscle, tendon or ligament damage.
Balance low- and high-impact cardio
High-impact cardio refers to intense exercise done in short spurts, such as sprinting, jumping jacks and plyometrics. These are great for activating the fast-twitch fibers in your muscles. However, you should keep in mind that too much impact could lead to stress and damage.
Low-impact cardio refers to swimming, treadmill walking, elliptical machines and stationary bikes. This type of cardio provides continued muscle strengthening while minimizing the stress to your body.
Here’s an example of how you could use both in your routine, using a bike. Start riding a stationary bike at a comfortable speed level and ride it for a minute and a half. When that time is up, pedal as fast as you can for 45 seconds, then go back to the initial speed level. Repeat and try to keep this up for 20 minutes.
Get your nutrition in check
By watching what you eat, you can minimize inflammatory responses and excess body fat, which will contribute to the health of your muscles and joints.
Specialists recommend alkaline diets, which have been found to improve energy levels and help lower inflammation. Fruit such as berries, papaya and avocados (yes, it’s a fruit!), but also dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach should be on your menu. It would also be recommended for you to keep your diet low in saturated fats and processed foods.
Moreover, if you and your doctor are open to alternative medicine, you can ask him or her about turmeric. This oriental spice is well known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Remember to listen to your body. It’s important to avoid being overzealous and to know when it’s time to stop a certain movement. If you feel any kind of pain while you work out, you should take a small break. Notice if the pain returns when you start working out again. If it does, you should see a doctor. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to fitness, gain should come without the pain.
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