The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week. That time drops to 75 minutes if the activity is vigorously aerobic. Add in strength training twice a week, and you’re looking at a long, healthy, energized life. But what about your joints? How do you protect the hinges in your body during your sweat sessions? A physical therapist may be able to help. Call today to find out how physical therapy can keep you moving for decades to come. In the meantime, these three keys to joint protection can help you get moving and stay moving.
1. Start with the best foundation possible
If you are experiencing knee, hip or back pain during or after exercise, you probably think the problem is only with your knee, hip or back. The truth is, most joint problems begin with your feet. Proper shoes for your height, weight, gait, and fitness level not only help your feet, they provide proper support for the rest of your joints. But your shoes are not the only thing contributing to your foundation. As you age, changes in your inner ear make balance a challenge. As you struggle to maintain your balance during vigorous exercise, you place more stress on your joints. Fortunately, physical therapy can help you address both your footing and your balance. As movement experts, a physical therapist is highly skilled at identifying these problems and even more skilled at helping patients address them.
2. Exercising is all about form
Whether you are a swimmer, a runner, or a yogi, you know that form can mean the difference between fitness gains and major injury. Your ability to safely perform any movement, and thereby protect your joints, is reliant on great posture and proper body positioning. Fortunately, a physical therapist can identify problems with your form when you sit, stand, run, jump, bend, twist, lift, or perform any other movement. Through targeted exercises and stretches, physical therapy offers every athlete a chance to improve their form and limit impact on their joints. Want to improve your golf swing? Physical therapy can help. Tired of plateauing at the gym? Physical therapy can improve your form and get you to the next level.
3. Watch your weight
According to the Arthritis Foundation, every pound of excess weight a person carries exerts four pounds of pressure on that person’s knees. This is why so many people who are overweight or obese struggle with joint problems. Even if you are 10 pounds overweight, you are putting 40 extra pounds of pressure on your joints with every step. Fortunately, it is possible to begin an exercise regimen that will help shed unwanted pounds without putting more stress on your joints. A physical therapist can customize an exercise plan that is right for your body. This plan may include aerobic exercise, weight training, stretching, and pain relief measures that will not only help you trim down but will decrease the pressure you put on vulnerable joints in your body.
Ultimately, the key to exercising and joint protection lies in the office of your physical therapist. Contact today to find out how physical therapy can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing your joints to the gym.