Smutty Fitness: Fitness for weak joints

June 20, 2012 14:25:51 Posted at June 20, 2012 14:25:51
Hayley Posted by Hayley

Hi Hayley,

What sort of fitness routine would you suggest for someone who has weak joints (due to hyper flexibility)? I'm relatively fit, but I've stopped running because my knees and ankles hurt too much from it, and I've haven't been lifting significantly because of back, wrist, and shoulder injuries. What can I do to get stronger (especially stronger joints) and up my fitness routine?

I have said this many time before – health and fitness look different on everyone and what might work for one person may not work for another.  We all have our own limitations that prevent us from doing certain things.  For example, when I swim I get terrible migraine headaches afterwards because of tension in my neck so I do not swim if I do not have to.  But when I am in training for a triathlon I do what I need to do to make sure that I can swim; I see my chiropractor and physiotherapist on a regular basis because I do not like the word CAN’T but do understand that sometimes we need to modify our fitness routines to be just right for us.

Here is what I suggest you do. Go to see your doctor before starting a new fitness routine as well as discuss with your doctor the benefits of working with a physiotherapist to help strengthen your body.  If you have extended medical coverage then some (or all) of your visits will be covered.  However if you have to pay for it yourself I want to encourage you to still go as it is an investment in your body.

In regards to your current routine I want to recommend a few different options.  I am not sure what your budget is for fitness but if you can afford to attend Pilates classes, try to get to 2 or 3 a week as they will help build your core and strengthen your body without aggravating your wrists, back and shoulders.  There are many types of Pilates classes from group classes (at fitness centers and yoga studios) to private classes found in small Pilates studios.  You can also try a “bar” style class, a modification of Pilates.  I do suggest you continue with light strength training, keeping the repetitions between 8-12 and building up slowly.  Stay away from push ups, anything overhead and keep your core exercises stable (for example, stay away from sit ups and crunches and instead strengthen your core by doing a variety of planking exercises)

For your cardio, stick to lower impact exercises such as cycling or swimming to help build your endurance while at the same time strengthening your body.  If you can find a spin class nearby (most recreation centers offer them and they cost anywhere between $5-$25) sign up for 1 or 2 classes a week plus 1 or 2 swims a week where your focus will be on increasing the distance you swim each time you get into the pool.  If you cannot swim perhaps try taking a swimming lesson or attending a water aerobics class. If you have any great places to hike get out for a 60-90 minute power walk somewhere with soft ground (bark mulch trails are ideal).

Everyone can exercise no matter our limitations; we just have to be willing to try new things.

Attached - Hugh Jackman this week.

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