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Exercises to help relieve joint pain

51_tickWhen your joints hurt, the last thing you may want to do is exercise. But in fact, exercise can be very helpful for people with joint pain because it strengthens the muscles surrounding your joints, taking some of the pressure off them.
It also protects joints from any further damage. The exercise you do should not be painful or strenuous, and you should gradually build up your endurance.

Of course, it's always a good idea to speak to your doctor, pharmacist, physical therapist, trainer or another qualified professional to help you come up with a program that will help you manage your joint pain.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic activity is a good way to improve your cardiovascular health, keep your weight in check and maintain strong muscles. Try lighter activities that aren't too hard on joints -- like walking or swimming.

Strengthening exercises

To do strengthening exercises, you contract and release your muscles against resistance, building up muscle. And the stronger your muscles, the better they support your joints. The advantage of these types of exercises is that they can be performed at home, so you don't need to invest in costly equipment or a gym membership.

Flexibility exercises

These exercises are to be done slowly, taking your joints through their full range of movement by stretching them. As you do this, you'll be relieving stiffness and increasing mobility. It's a good idea to do these exercises when you're not experiencing pain and you're relaxed -- like after a warm bath. Here are some easy flexibility or range-of-motion exercises to try:

  • Move your shoulders slowly in a circular motion, front to back, and then reverse direction. Do a few repetitions.
  • Look straight ahead, then turn your head to the left, looking over your left shoulder. Hold for 3 seconds. Look straight ahead again and then repeat to the right. Repeat several times.
  • Make a fist with your right hand, then slowly open your hand, stretching out your fingers. Do the same with your left hand.
  • Sit in a chair with your knees in front of you and your feet in line with your knees (i.e., directly below them). Without lifting your foot off the floor, slide your right foot forward along the floor in front of you. Hold it there for 10 seconds. Move it back into position and then slide your left foot out, hold it there for 10 seconds, and then bring it back. Repeat 5-10 times per foot.

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