While joint pain and stiffness are usually considered as a sign of old age, it is a common problem that can arise in anyone regardless of age. According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 54 million adults suffer from arthritis in the US. This can be a major issue when you’re working out or playing any sports. Here are some of the best practices to protect knees and ligaments during any workout.
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Why is it important to protect knees and ligaments?
Joints and ligaments are the links that connect your bones together and they must stay strong and healthy if you want to stay active. But due to repetitive stress, sudden injury, lack of regular exercise, and chronic health conditions, these key structures get damaged and break down over time. This causes chronic pain and immobility that puts a stop to your favourite workout and sports. So, if you want to stay pain-free and active for the long-haul, you need to know these best practices to protect knees and ligaments during any workout.
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Best practices to protect knees and ligaments during any workout
1. Keep moving
Staying inactive with no regular workout is as bad as overworking and overstressing your joints and ligaments. Staying active is one of the best practices to protect knees and ligaments during any workout. Your joints and ligaments are designed to stay active. Moving and challenging your joints and ligaments through regular exercise helps circulate blood and synovial fluid- A fluid found in joints that helps reduce friction. This strengthens the muscles and ligaments that support these joints. Workouts like strength training and cardiovascular exercise are important for total-body health including heart, brain, muscles, and joints.
2. Warm up before workouts
We can’t stress this enough. As much as exercise is important for keeping joints and ligaments healthy, so is preparing your joints and ligaments for that exercise. A simple warm-up routine prepares your joints for high-intensity movements that you have planned in your workout. This gets your joints moving through a greater range of motion and lubricates your joints. If you don’t do this routine before your workout and try to exercise while your muscles and joints are stiff, you’ll face a greater risk of injury.
3. Strengthen your muscles
A strong joint needs strong muscles to function efficiently. This is why it is important to keep the muscles that support your joints to be as strong as possible. If you run with muscle weakness or bad mechanics, you may cause joint damage and pain. You need to work on improving your muscle strength by strengthening exercises like weight training. With a good blend of strength training into your regular workout routine, you’ll increase the strength and functioning of your muscles and joints. But make sure that you’re not overdoing it.
4. Modify your workout routine
On contrary to popular belief, a high-impact form of exercises like running and jumping are not bad for your joints and ligaments. In fact, they protect your knees from damage. As you run or jump, your articular cartilage squishes the synovial fluid. This movement sweeps away the metabolic waste and brings nutrients back to your joints. However, if you’re already suffering from joint pain, try low-impact forms of exercises like swimming, rowing, and cycling. Thus, modifying your workout routine is a great practice to protect knees and ligaments during any workout.
5. Anti-inflammatory diet plan
Reducing inflammation in the joints is one of the best practices to protect knees and ligaments during any workout. A well-balanced diet with anti-inflammatory foods can lower inflammation and improve your overall joint health. Consuming adequate amounts of nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium and protein are extremely beneficial for your joints. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats are all good food options to maintain your joint health.
Joint health is the key to improve your performance in any sport or workouts. A healthy and painless joint helps you get the full benefits of your physical activities. So, make sure you follow these best practices to protect knees and ligaments during any workout and have an injury-free and pain-free workout.