Happy Spring…finally! We suffered through a long Nebraska winter, and if you are anything like me, you are extremely excited for some nice Spring weather. This means more time outdoors returning to activities that were put on hold through the winter. For those experiencing joint pain, these outdoor activities may seem overwhelming and they may be inclined to pass on exercise.
Here’s the good news! For those with knee osteoarthritis, a new finding, highlighted in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggests that as little as an hour of moderate-to-vigorous exercise a week can lower the “risk of mobility-related disability by 85-percent and that of daily living disability by nearly 45-percent.”
That’s encouraging news for seniors who may see current government guidelines – at least 2.5 weekly hours of moderate-intensity physical activity to reduce risk of chronic disease – as unachievable.
Overall, this equates to less than 10 minutes a day to help someone maintain their independence, which may be a much more achievable goal!
Here are some highly-effective, low-impact activities that can help improve cardio-fitness, overall strength and range of motion – all while promoting better joint health.
- Brisk walking | low impact: brisk walking counts as moderate-to-vigorous exercise! It can also help improve “functional tasks,” like walking across a room or crossing the street quicker and more safely.
- Biking | no impact: biking provides good mobility at both the hip and knee, which means you’re getting more range of motion compared to walking.
- Swimming | no impact: swimming is an effective way to exercise your entire body. Water offers more resistance than air for effective strength-building, and since it’s buoyant, water reduces your weight and impact on the joints. As an added bonus, aquatic activities, including swimming, have been found to help decrease swelling of joints and surrounding tissue.
- Water walking | low or no impact: for those who still may have aches and pain with regular walking, the buoyancy of the water should help to mitigate this pain in joints. Water walkers can step along the bottom of the pool (low impact) or use a float belt in deeper water (no impact), going through the motions of walking or cycling.
- Elliptical | low impact: time on the elliptical can work both the arms and legs, which can lead to a more vigorous cardio workout with minimal impact.
Do you have questions about an individualized exercise plan designed to strengthen and prevent knee pain? Call (402) 609-1750.