by Danny Feldman

Joint friendly exercise is extremely important for anyone who has an old injury or has put increased stress on their joints, whether that is due to their job or from having participated in athletics for most of their life. After such experiences, joints can become stiff or sore and require extra care when exercising. Here are some joint friendly exercises to try if you find yourself experiencing joint pain or discomfort.

Bicycling – Riding a bicycle eliminates virtually all the stress and pounding, which running inflicts on the knees, hips and back. Not to mention, riding a bicycle is a great cardio and leg workout. Plus, the joy of riding a bicycle never gets old, from the time you are five until the day you die—there’s nothing like the feeling of wind in your face as you fly down a hill or the sense of accomplishment making it up a long steep grade.

Swimming – Swimming eliminates stress on all your joints even more than cycling as the water supports your entire body. Plus, swimming works out virtually every muscle in your body. While the shock of jumping in cold water never gets any easier, being in the water always feels great.

Rowing – Like swimming, rowing really works out most muscle groups in the body. Working out on a rower taxes both your upper and lower body—and it does so quickly. If you want some good
“pain,” do a 500-meter sprint—which will take roughly 1:15-2:00 of all-out effort. If you are a glutton for punishment, go flat out on a rower for 2000 meters (probably 6:15-8:30) and feel those muscles in your legs, thighs, hips, shoulders and arms burn—while your joints are chilling.

Pilates – Want a good core workout and a good stretch with little impact on the joints? Then, give Pilates a go. While at first glance Pilates class doesn’t seem like much work. The various stretches, poses and other movements look easy from the outside but are a serious workout for your core. Pilates is tough, and when you start, you will find muscles that you never even knew you had, but you will feel great with a stronger core and loose muscles that will only help your joints.

Yoga – While pretty similar to Pilates, Yoga is more focused on stretching and slightly less core work. Yoga is a great option for joint friendly exercise that is also great for your mental health.

Walking – And last, but not least, there’s plain old walking. While this exercise puts some stress on the body, it isn’t a lot— especially if you avoid walking downhill. But, just taking the dog out for a 20-minute walk in the morning and again in the evening clears the mind and gives you the benefits of exercise with little stress on your body.

Even as we age and as our bodies “pay” for what we put it through, there are still plenty of ways to get a good workout— without putting excess stress on the joints. Give some of these a try and see what you think.