If you suffer from joint pain, exercise may seem like the last thing you want to do, or need to do. But the right exercises performed properly can be a long-lasting way to subdue ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder pain. For some people, the right exercise routine can even help delay or sidestep surgery.
While exercise is great medicine, it only works if you carve out time to do it regularly. And sometimes the hardest part of a workout is getting started. Here are four ways to help you get your dose of physical activity:
- Carve out the time. Skip several half-hour TV shows a week or work out while watching. Get up half an hour earlier each day for a morning workout. If big blocks of time aren't falling into your lap, try 10-minute walks, or half a workout in the morning and half in the evening.
- Build activity into your daily routine. Take stairs, not elevators. When commuting, get off the bus or subway a stop or two ahead, or park farther away from your workplace. While on the phone, try a few stretches, pace, or do simple exercises like lunges, squats, and heel raises. Bike or walk to work. When running errands within a reasonable radius, park your car in one spot and walk to different shops. Replace your desk and desk chair with a standing desk. Try substituting a stability ball for your desk chair a few hours a day. Rake leaves and shovel snow instead of using a leaf blower or snow blower.
- Find a workout buddy. Workouts with a friend can be more enjoyable, plus you're less likely to cancel on the spur of the moment.
- Bugged by bad weather or early darkness? Buy equipment necessary for exercising at home, join a gym, try a class in your community, or walk the mall or an indoor athletic track at a local school.
When motivation flags, remind yourself of your goals, plan small rewards, ask a friend to check up on you, or consider working out with a personal trainer.
For more on developing and mastering joint pain relief workout, read The Joint Pain Relief Workout, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
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