It’s important to set aside time to exercise not only for your cardiovascular health, but to maintain good muscle strength. Our muscles aid in various bodily functions – from digestion to breathing. They work with our joints so we can move freely, and stand and sit at ease. When work piles up and time flies, we sacrifice our exercise time for “more important things,” and risk issues that come with prolonged inactivity.
For those who deal with chronic stiffness and aches in the knees, shoulders and other joints, exercise can help with flexibility. If your area gym or fitness center hasn’t yet reopened, simple muscle strengthening exercises at home can keep you active and combat a sedentary lifestyle.
Choose a space at home where you can move without obstructions, dress comfortably, and use a mat if needed for support of your feet or knees. Depending on how long you work out, be sure to warm up with a brief walk or stretch.
Repetitive exercises to help strengthen your leg muscles (aiding the hip, knee and ankle joints) include:
- Squats: With your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down toward a chair or bench, then rise to full standing position after just touching the seat.
- Lunge: Step far back with your left leg and raise the heel. Slowly, lower your body so your right knee forms a 90-degree angle; your other knee will barely touch the ground. With your right foot, push back into a standing position. Switch legs after your reps.
- Walking: It’s true: walking is as good an exercise for your leg muscles as using any gym equipment. Wear supportive shoes and walk at least 30 minutes to get your blood flowing.
For improvement of your upper body muscles:
- Pushups: Your palms, flat on the floor, should align with your shoulders. Your body should be straight through every step of the exercise designed to strengthen your shoulders and arms.
- Arm circles: This is an easy routine that doesn’t require hand weights. With arms outstretched, rotate them forward in rapid circles for your reps, then reverse direction.
Healthy muscles can help joint health. At Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, our physicians and therapists help patients improve quality of life. Contact us today for information on joint replacement and joint care following illness or injury.