Thursday, June 15, 2023

TAKING CARE OF MY JOINTS: TIPS AND EXERCISES TO DO AT HOME



 TAKING CARE OF MY JOINTS: TIPS AND EXERCISES TO DO AT HOME:

According to INSERM, nearly 10 million French people suffer from osteoarthritis, a disease that affects the joints. Neck, shoulders, hips, knees… Discover all our tips and exercises to do at home to prevent or relieve joint pain.

Joint mobility: why do we have to move?

The joints allow the body to perform all the movements it needs to perform on a daily basis. To understand: each joint is made up of ligaments that connect the bones two by two. The ends of the bones are covered with cartilage which makes it easier for the bone surfaces to slide over each other. To ensure its role, the cartilage is permanently lubricated by the synovial fluid.

When a joint remains stationary for too long, the cartilage is poorly irrigated and poorly lubricated. It is therefore important to move your joints regularly so that they function optimally. In addition, being active also allows you to gain muscle mass, which helps keep the joints in place.

As you have understood, there is no question of standing still to preserve your joints... quite the contrary! A prolonged sedentary lifestyle promotes joint degradation and the risk of osteoarthritis, a disease that affects nearly 10 million French people according to the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM).

Joint pain: what exercises to soften your joints?

A few very simple exercises will allow you to soften your joints and preserve your mobility. These different movements can be performed upon waking up to “unwind” your body, or during your sports warm-up, in addition to other flexibility or bodybuilding exercises.

The rhythm of the exercises must be regular, with a minimum of 2 to 3 times a week, for 10 to 15 minutes per session, and reproducing each movement ten times.

Neck exercisesExercise for the neck joints:

Standing, legs hip-width apart and shoulders relaxed, perform a series of “yes” and “no” with your head. Without forcing, keeping a very gentle rhythm, go to the end of the movement each time. Hold the position for ten seconds then release gently before performing the same maneuver on the other side.
Massage the base of the skull with your thumbs, rotating from the spine.

Exercises for the shoulder joints:

Exercise n°1: standing, legs hip-width apart, interlace your fingers and raise your arms above your head, turning your hands over, so that your palms are facing the sky. Hold this position and stretch as you grow taller for a few seconds. Release.
Exercise n°2: standing, legs hip-width apart, interlace your fingers behind your head. Gently pull your elbows back as if pulling your shoulder blades together, then gently perform the opposite motion, as if pulling your shoulder blades apart.

Wrist exerciseExercise for the wrist joints:

Palms together, intertwine your fingers. Then rotate to each side taking your time, clockwise and then counterclockwise.
Massage your wrist and each finger in circular motions.



Exercise for the back joints:

In an all-fours position, place your hands at shoulder height and your knees at hip height. Inhaling, hollow your back without forcing. Then exhale by drawing in your stomach and rounding your back. Slowly alternate the two positions, holding them for 5 seconds each time.

Hip exercisesExercise for the hip joints:

Lying on the floor, bend your knees and keep your feet hip-width apart on the floor. Bring your left knee towards your chest while pushing it with your left hand. Hold the pressure for 5 seconds, then lower the knee. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Fists closed, massage your hips by pressing lightly from top to bottom then from bottom to top.

Knee exercisesExercise for the knee joints:

On a stair step, stand on your tiptoes, heels in the air. Hold on to the railing, keeping your back straight. Slowly lower your heels under the step then back up.
Massage around your knee with circular movements.

Ankle exercisesExercise for the ankle joints:

Sitting on a chair, lean your back against the backrest. Raise and straighten your left leg. Without moving your leg, make 10 circles with your ankle clockwise and then counterclockwise. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Massage around the malleoli with two fingers then turn around the ankle da fluid movement.

What are the good habits to adopt to preserve the mobility of the joints?

In addition to the exercises mentioned above, certain good habits help preserve the joints and relieve pain on a daily basis.

The neck:

Do you know the "text-neck" syndrome? This refers to the posture adopted in front of a smartphone: the head lowered towards the screen, the chin lowered towards the chest and the neck bent. When you tilt your head, the pressure exerted is such that it is equivalent to supporting a weight of 27 kg on the neck. One of the first reflexes to adopt to preserve the mobility of your neck and cervical spine is therefore to always keep your head straight and avoid spending more than 3 hours consulting your phone during the day.



Shoulders

The number one enemy of your shoulders? Handbag ! This often overloaded accessory is therefore too heavy to carry for the shoulder joints. It is therefore very important to lighten it as much as possible. The ideal is to wear it by changing sides regularly so as not to create an imbalance. Better yet, do not hesitate to swap your shoulder bag for a backpack to better distribute the load.

wrists and fingers:

It is advisable to avoid repetitive hand movements, especially the gripping hand on the computer mouse if you work all day behind a screen. Pain can also affect musicians, video game addicts, relentless DIY enthusiasts… Without giving up on your passion, take regular breaks to preserve the flexibility of your wrist and finger joints.

The back:

To preserve your back, keep your spine straight throughout all movements, making sure to bend your knees if you lean towards the ground. When sitting, also make sure to keep your back straight, even if your seat does not have a backrest, especially if your job requires you to spend hours in front of a computer. Another tip: bet on shoes with a small heel (ideally 3 to 4 cm) and equipped with a sole that absorbs the impact on the ground well.

Hips:

If you experience joint pain in the hip, pay particular attention to the choice of your seats: chair, armchair, car... The ideal seat should be positioned at knee height, to avoid you putting too much pressure on your hips when you get up or you sit. Also walk at your own pace, taking breaks if necessary and avoiding carrying heavy loads.

Knees:

In the long term, it is advisable to avoid the practice of certain physical activities with impacts such as running. However, there is no question of drawing a line under the sport because remember that the joints are also damaged when they are not used. Simply choose activities that are gentler on the knees, such as swimming or cycling.

Ankles:

The knees and ankles particularly suffer from being overweight. This is why it is recommended to adopt a balanced diet that complies with the recommendations of the national health nutrition plan (PNNS). This makes it possible to maintain a healthy BMI but also to reduce inflammatory phenomena, in particular caused by the regular consumption of processed foods.
In parallel with all these good habits, know that certain plants and natural substances have a beneficial effect on joint sensitivity: this is the case in particular of boswellia, harpagophytum, glucosamine, chondroitin.