11 Exercise Tips to Support Your Joints 

When you have arthritis, you need to balance the positive benefits of exercise with the realities of joint pain and fatigue. Use these exercise tips to help you keep your body flexible and strong, protect your range of motion and reduce stress. 

1. Warm up
Don't think about hitting the gym, the pool or the trails (or any exercise for that matter) before warming up. Warming up your body before exercise is like warming your car up in the winter. To keep it running smoothly and for optimal joint safety, start slowly and get up to speed only after your muscles and joints have at least five minutes prep time.
2. Take the plunge
Consider moving your workout to the water and reap the benefits. From strength training to jogging to aerobic movements  (and let’s not forget the plain old swim), the buoyancy of water allows you to keep doing many of the exercises you love, while taking some of the load off your joints.
3. Stttrrreeetttccchhh
Stretching isn't just for workouts anymore. Take breaks throughout the day, including at your office, to get re-energized and help keep your muscles and ligaments flexible and strong.  Research shows it’s also best to stretch after warming up a bit – not before exercise – and at the end of workouts.
4. See a yogi
Yoga hasn't been the hottest trend (for the last 5,000 years) for nothing. Yoga and other forms of gentle exercise like Pilates and tai chi strengthen the mind-body connection, allowing you to get your body fit while you get your mind in shape.
5. Bulk up
Strength training is the best way to boost your metabolism (and get a sleeker bod, too). Research also shows lifting weights creates denser bones and builds stronger muscles that help stabilize and protect joints.
6. Develop abs of steel
Strong abs are essential to creating overall core strength and balance. Studies show that improving strength and balance are key to preventing falls and protecting joints from damage. 
7. Get a trainer
Sign up for a consultation with a trainer who can help show you the right way to exercise to prevent injury and avoid undue joint stress. Doing an exercise wrong is often worse than not exercising at all. Think joint safety!
8. Get your hands dirty
Besides the relaxing benefits of breathing fresh air, being outdoors provides many opportunities to burn extra calories without thinking about it. Gardening and other yard work or volunteering with a home-building charity are some way to firm up your arms and legs, while being productive, too.
9. Walk Fido
Pets don't just help your mental health; they also help your physical health. Walking your dog is a great excuse for getting yourself into shape. Use a sturdy leash that is easy to grip, such as a thick leash with a loop handle.
10. Take a hike
Choose your favorite spots and walk them at least once a week. Hiking burns calories strengthens muscles and builds denser bones, while providing beautiful scenery and an opportunity to relieve stress and anxiety. 
11. Buddy up
Working out with friends is one of the easiest ways to keep your exercise program on track. Studies have shown that people who exercise with a friend stick to their programs more than those who go it alone.

For more information on the benefits of exercise, how to get started and example workouts, click here.

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