Exercising is essential to healthy living, but intense exercise without adequate rest can cause joint pain and lead to long-term injury.
Can Exercise Worsen Joint Pain?
When managing arthritis, one of the best decisions you can make is maintaining a healthy weight. Added body weight puts excessive strain on the joints, especially your knees. For example, being only 10 pounds overweight places 30 to 60 additional pounds of force on the knee with every step.
If your doctor has suggested increasing your exercise to lose weight and decrease joint strain, it’s important to begin slowly with moderate physical activity. The same workouts that burn calories can wear down your joints, destroy cartilage and cause joint injury.
Signs of Overexercising
“Too much of a good thing” can definitely apply to exercise. However, overexercising can be just as detrimental as not exercising because overtraining can lead to permanent joint damage.
Here are several signs that you are pushing too hard in your exercise regimen:
- Increased heart rate
- Not feeling as strong
- Exercise stops being invigorating
- Lacking physical performance
- Difficulty reaching fitness goals
- Changes in metabolic function
- Poor sleep
- Mood swings
- Feeling more tired than you normally do
Low-impact Exercises That Prevent Joint Pain
Effective exercise does not have to result in profuse sweating and breathlessness. Adults between 18 and 65 should engage in moderate exercise for 30 minutes five times per week or vigorous exercise for 20 minutes three times per week. It is also important to do strength training twice per week.
To be healthy, you don’t need to run long distances or attend boot camp fitness classes. Why not consider some of these low-impact activities? All these exercises will increase your heart rate and help you burn fat, but they are gentle on your joints:
- Water aerobics
- Indoor or outdoor biking
- Gardening and yard work
The Importance of Rest Days Between Workouts
Rest days are just as important as workout days. Rest days help relieve muscle pain and soreness and repair and build muscle tissue. Resting also replenishes the body’s energy and allows the mind to rest. On rest days, make sure you drink as much water as you do on training days and get eight hours of sleep at night to give your body the maximum benefit of the recovery (Medical Xpress).
Schedule a Consultation With an Orthopedist
Take some time to create some health and fitness goals this month. National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is Sept. 28. This is an important day for all adults to remember the importance of health and fitness in our lives.
Are you having joint pain in your knees, hips, shoulders or other joints? You don’t have to accept joint pain as a part of everyday life. Instead, make an appointment with your orthopedist to discuss managing your joint pain. This could include an exercise plan, nutrition modification or even a procedure to alleviate joint discomfort.