It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true:One of the best ways to relieve joint pain is to exercise!
Whether you’re feeling pain in your elbows or pain in your lower back and hips, the key to controlling and preventing joint and muscle pain is to exercise the right way. If you have pain or joint discomfort then you need to keep your workouts low intensity, but that doesn’t mean easy or ineffective.
You can minimize impact and reduce the risk of injury by doing exercises that take pressure off your joints.
Some of the most popular low-intensity exercise options include.
Controlled light resistance weight training
Stretching and yoga
In addition to keeping your workouts low-intensity, you can also start doing simple exercises to relieve discomfort in specific areas of your body, such as these 13 stretches for lower back pain or these 13 hip-openers that make you feel good.
Try these 10 exercises to relieve different forms of joint pain. You’ll need a chair, a small towel, a light dumbbell and a resistance band to do these moves. Remember your favorite exercises and add them to your workout when you feel discomfort in your joints.
1) “Twisted Towel” Wrist Extension 10 reps
Roll up a small towel and grab the end of it with both hands.
Extend your arms forward, palms facing down.
Slowly and in a controlled manner, pretend you are wringing water out of the towel. Tilt one wrist up and the other down, then alternate sides.
Continue wringing the towel in both directions and repeat 10 times.
2) Dumbbell Wrist Bends | 10 reps per side
Sit on a chair or bench. Hold a light dumbbell in one hand with your elbow on your knee.
Keeping your arms still, exhale, bend your forearms and flex your wrists to curl the dumbbells.
Inhale and relax your wrist back to the starting position.
Repeat 10 times in a slow and controlled manner, focusing on the full range of motion of the wrist. Then switch sides.
3) Elbow press with a small towel, 3 reps on each side
Extend your arm. Roll up a small towel and place it on your elbow.
Make a fist and bend your arm toward you, bending your elbow all the way to the towel. Aim to bring your knuckles toward your shoulder.
With your other hand, gently press the back of your wrist inward to increase pressure. Take a deep breath, hold for five seconds, and then switch sides.
Repeat three times on each side.
4) Narrow Grip Wall Push Triceps Extension 10 reps
Place your palms flat on a wall at the same height as your chest.
Step back a few feet so your body is at a slight angle. Make sure your palms are flush with the wall.
Bend your elbows so that your body is facing the wall, keeping your elbows vertically down.
Stop when your elbow is about 3 inches from the wall and push your arm straight back, bending your elbow all the way.
Repeat 10 times.
Tip: For a bigger challenge, you can do this exercise on a bench with the palms of your hands.
5) Hip and low back compression stretch, 3 reps per side
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Raise one knee towards your chest and use your hands to pull it towards you. Aggressively work your glutes.
Take five deep breaths, then switch positions and do the same on the other side.
Continue alternating exercises and repeat three times on each side.
6) Pelvic tilt 10 reps
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Bend at the hips and place your palms on your knees.
Lift your sit bones and tilt your pelvis forward, creating an arch in your lower back and stretching your hamstrings. Keep your neck neutral and your shoulders relaxed. Hold for a few breaths.
Next, circle your lower spine and tuck your pelvis into a circle. Hold for a few breaths.
Alternate leaning forward and leaning backward for 10 reps each, holding each pose for as long as you’d like to relieve pain and pressure in your low back and hips.
7) Touching toes with one foot, 10 reps each side
Stand on one foot and look down at the ground for balance.
As you lift your back leg behind you, bring your fingers to the toes of your standing leg. Try to be as parallel to the ground as possible.
Slowly regain control.
Repeat 10 times on one side, then switch to the other.
8) Glute kicks, 10 reps per set
Kneel on all fours and bend your right foot. Keep your left foot relaxed.
Raise your right leg in a straight line from your right knee to your shoulder with your right foot facing the ceiling.
Hold at the top for three seconds while working the gluteus maximus, then relax the knee to bring it back to the floor.
Repeat 10 times on the same side, then switch to the other side.
9) Do resistance band knee extensions on a chair for 10 reps per side
Wrap a resistance band around one leg of a chair and place the other end behind your knee.
Grab the cushion of the chair with your hands. Then step back until you feel enough tension in the band.
The leg of the bandage should be directly below your hip.
Straighten your leg completely against the tension of the bandage.
Then relax your knee. Keep your foot flat on the ground the entire time.
Repeat 10 times and then switch legs.
10) Isometric quad flexors, 6 reps on each side
Sit on the floor and place a rolled up bath towel under your right knee.
Place your hands on the floor behind you for support and sit up straight.
Bend your right leg and lift your heel off the floor. You should feel the muscles around your knee perk up.
Hold this movement for five seconds, then relax.
Repeat six times on this side, then switch to your left leg.
Tip: For a challenge, increase the number of repetitions or increase each hold to eight seconds.
When you feel joint pain or discomfort, revisit these helpful exercises. As always, be smart in the midst of an injury. If your body is telling you to rest, then rest. When the time is right, use these gentle exercises to help you get stronger and feel better.