By Cristobal Beiro, MD
Spring is here and the summer months will be here sooner than you think. Exercise and participating in sports are great ways to keep up your activity level which, as we know, leads to better health and improves the body’s ability to deal with virtually any adverse health condition. But, we all know someone or maybe it’s even ourselves, who complain of joint pain or discomfort that prevents us from leading an active lifestyle and achieving better health. Although it is especially important for us as we get older, I believe following the acronym S.A.V.E; situate, avoid, vary and exercise, is useful for people of all ages.
Situate your home so that it is conducive to protecting your joints. It is best to spend a minimal amount of time kneeling and squatting. Store heavy and frequently used objects at or above waist level. Use good body mechanics when lifting heavy objects.
Avoid wear and tear on your joints. Use a stool to sit instead of squatting down, and carry objects on the side of your painful joint. Sit while performing household chores, when possible.
Vary your joint position frequently. Do not put your joints in extreme positions for long periods of time. When possible, place yourself in a position of “joint comfort” to allow maximum joint nutrition and blood flow. Keep your knees relaxed and frequently moving and do not put them in extreme flexion (bending) or extension (straightening) while sitting. Also, do not cross your legs or sit on one leg.
Exercising safely and regularly can assist you in increasing your energy level, improving flexibility and increasing your strength. Low impact exercises such as walking or swimming are the best exercises to perform to protect joints. And remember to always do a general warm-up and stretching routine for at least 15 minutes prior to strenuous physical activity. Keep in mind; stretching should be done slowly without bouncing.
Follow these tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep participating in those sports or physically demanding activities you love.
Fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon Dr. Beiro was assistant team physician to the professional sport teams; Baltimore Ravens NFL team, Washington Nationals MLB team and Baltimore Blast MILS team. He has an office in Perth Amboy, will soon add another in Woodbridge and is a member of the Human Motion Institute at Raritan Bay Medical Center. To make an appointment, call 1-855-5-MOTION.
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