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Whether you’ve been an active gym-goer for years or are just starting out, it’s important that you take the time to protect your joints from damage while you’re doing cardio or weight lifting. It’s easy to overwork or stress your joints and cause injuries without even realizing it. Try the following to make sure that you’re keeping your whole body healthy and active.
Warm up before you work out
At least five minutes spent doing some dynamic stretches as a warm up will help lube up your joints and loosen you up so that you’re ready to work out. A good warm up is important before any workout. It prepares your body for the workout to come, and eases you into it. It will also make your workout more effective and successful.
Mix it up sometimes
Overuse is the main contributor to joint damage. When you do the same routine in the same order day after day, it takes a toll on your body. More specifically, it really wears on your joints. Instead, shake up your routine and try different ways to work your target areas. Big on cardio? Take walks, try yoga, or go to a spinning class. When you do your typical routine, changing up the order can have a similar effect.
Take a joint health supplement
If you are genetically predisposed to joint trouble (ex: bad knees, bad back) or have had a previous injury, taking a daily joint health supplement can further protect and repair your joints. Natural supplements like Primal Joint Support (Amazon) fight the inflammation that causes pain and stiffness while using naturally-derived ingredients to minimize side effects. Look over the ingredients and product reviews for each one, and determine which one works best for your needs.
Stretch out after your workout
Just like warming up before your workout, taking a couple minutes to do some stretches afterward can help prevent injuries and prevent your joints from feeling stiff. Hold the stretches for as long as you can (30 seconds or longer) and enjoy the release of tension as you do so. Using exercise bands like Therabands (Amazon) is also helpful to safely achieving your desired stretch.
Don’t overdo it
This is particularly true for those who are just starting out or have older bodies. It can be tempting to dive in and do too much too soon. This leads to injury because your body isn’t used to the strain. Instead, take your time. Take it slow and start with short, easy workouts. Ease your way into longer, more strenuous ones as your body adapts.
Protecting your joints at the gym isn’t as hard as you might think. It is, however, critical to your health and your ability to continue going to the gym. Your joints will thank you.