5 minutes to healthier joints?
One of the biggest myths of all time when it comes to healthy aging is this: if your joints are sore or weak, it’s from a lifetime of use.
Exercising them will make it worse.
My friend, nothing could be farther from the truth.
We know that most joint health issues are not from overuse. And studies have shown that you can actually increase flexibility and reduce overall discomfort by actually staying active.
I talk about muscle strength a lot, and the declines you may face when you get older. While this is true, your joints are the support system behind your muscles.
You can’t get full use of your muscles, no matter how strong they are, if your joints are out of whack.
Healthier joints mean a better quality of life, full stop. If you don’t exercise, your joints actually aren’t protected… they degenerate.
But a few simple exercises will help build both muscle and joint strength. And it won’t take all day.
All I’m asking for is 5 minutes.
Five exercises. One minute each.
You may be busy, but nobody is too busy to spare 5 minutes a day, when it can mean so much to your life.
So let’s begin:
- The Inchworm
- Stand with your feet apart, about the width of your hips.
- Bend forward at the waist until your hands touch the ground.
- Then walk forward, until you’re in a push up position.
- Hold for 2 seconds, then walk your hands back.
- Stand up. And then repeat the steps.
You want to do this slowly. If you can keep your legs straight while you bend over and inch forward, great. But it’s ok to bend your knees if you can’t.
- Half squat
- Again, stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Bend your knees slowly, push your butt out, and lower your body by just a few inches. (You’ll swing your arms forward as you go down.)
- Push down with your heels to stand back up, and clench your bum at the top (your arms return to the side).
- The Clamshell
- Lie on your side, with knees bent. Rest your head on your bottom arm, and use your other arm for balance.
- As you keep your heels together, rotate the top knee open until you feel it in your bottom. Then lower your knee down.
- After 10 reps, switch sides.
- Calf Raise
- Stand with your feet together. (You can hold a chair or a wall for balance.)
- Lift your heels off the ground and raise up to your toes.
- Pause for a second, then bring your feet down. And repeat.
- The Lying Twister
- Lie down as you did with the Clamshell exercise. But this time, put both arms out in front of you, with your head resting on the floor or bed.
- Keeping your arms straight, rotate your top arm open, and let it fall behind you as far as you can go without discomfort. Follow along with your head (you’ll feel this in your shoulders, back and chest).
- Hold the open position for 2 seconds, then rotate to your starting position. Do this for 6-10 reps, and switch to the other side.
That’s it. Five moves, all relatively simple. And all things you’re probably not doing right now, but you should (trust me).
Feel free to start small, with one or two. And as you get better, add another one.
It’s a small commitment to support your joints.
After all, they’ve been supporting you for a long time. Why not give a little something back!