Healthy Aging: How to Keep Your Joints Young

Past injury or trauma in the joints is one of the leading causes of osteoarthritis. Regular exercise plays a major role in keeping your joints and their supporting structures strong and healthy and has been proven to help prevent muscle and joint injuries. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends individuals to participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise five times a week, and at least 30 minutes of strength training exercise two times a week.

When beginning an exercise routine, many people underestimate the importance of stretching, especially after a work-out. Stretching helps improve flexibility, which decreases your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion. Before working out, it is important to warm your muscles by doing a low-intensity exercise, such as walking or light jogging, for five to ten minutes. Then, after each work-out, focus on stretching the major muscle groups, such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders, and other muscles you use on a regular basis.

Tight hamstrings and calf muscles are the two most common conditions that predispose you to injury. Tight hamstrings are commonly associated with back pain, and tight calf muscles are associated with plantar fasciitis & tendonitis.

Many studies have shown that individuals are more likely to participate in a regular exercise routine when they are older if they began exercising at a young age. Therefore, it’s important for parents to encourage their kids to participate in physical activity. Try getting them involved in a few different organized sports to see what kind of activity they enjoy, and hopefully, it will be something they continue to participate in throughout their lives to maintain healthy joints and overall wellness.

It is important to get a proper medical evaluation before beginning or changing an exercise routine. Cone Health Sports Medicine Center at MedCenter High Point is dedicated to providing thorough physical exams and treating patients with sport and/or activity-related injuries throughout the community.

Physician Background:

Dr. Shane Hudnall is a primary care sports medicine specialist practicing at Cone Health Sports Medicine Department at MedCenter High Point.  Dr. Hudnall is a 2007 graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine.  He completed his residency in family medicine at Cone Health Family Medicine Center and completed his fellowship in sports medicine at Cone Health.