The body consists of 206 bones and hundreds of joints all across the human body. These joints are as important as the bones themselves as they provide –
- Flexibility to body
- Help in making movements
- Bear the weight of the body.
While in simple terms and concept, the joints mean the joining of two bones, they actually are made up of muscles, cartilage, synovial fluid and ligaments, along with the bones. Over time, the joints lose their strength and it is then that the body loses its flexibility. Gradually, pain increases and one might become absolutely immobile and bed-ridden.
The reason, why the joints lose their strength can be many. What is important is that you try to increase the strength of your joints. When joint strength improvement is being referred to, it needs to be said that the joints of the bones do not possess any strength. It is the strength of the muscles surrounding the bone joints that should be strengthened in order to increase the strength of the joints. If you want to keep your body flexible and moving for long, you need to follow these steps to improve the joint strength.
Improving joint strength is extremely important since it prevents one from getting injuries and pain. Joint strength can be improved in many ways like exercise, food etc. The specific exercises and food that helps in improving the joint strength are described below.
Exercises to Improve Joint Strength
The first thing that will help you to increase the strength of your bone joints is exercise. Exercise improves the range of motion and also makes sure that the body can prevent any sort of injury in the future. Here are some of the exercises that are useful in improving your joint strength.
Low Impact Cardio:
What many people do not realize is that the low impact cardio exercises have a great impact on the body joints in increasing its strength. Some low impact cardio exercises that will help you to hold your body weight are –
- Tai Chi
- Running on the other hand is a high impact cardio exercise that can increase the chances of injury in your knees.
One Leg Balance Can Help Improve Joint Strength:
This is a very simple exercise to improve joint strength in which you need to shift the weight of your body to one leg and then slowly and slightly lift the other leg backwards, so that the knee is slightly folded. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Make sure that the knee of your standing leg is not locked.
One leg balance helps in stabilizing the knee joint muscles and when you walk or bend, it will prevent the possibility of injury. For increasing the difficulty level, lift the leg straight in front and then to the side and hold the position. You can also try this exercise on a balancing board, rather than trying on the floor.
Perform Squat for Improving Joint Strength:
To improve the strength of the knee joint even further, squat is a great exercise. For this exercise, bend your knees until the thighs become parallel to the floor, with the feet facing forward. Make sure that the back is straight and stretch your hands in front of you. Now hold the posture for a few counts and then lift the body up, pressing on your knees. Repeat the same.
Improving Joint Strength with Rotator Cuff Exercises:
The rotator cuff or the shoulder joints are one of the easily injured joints of the body. For improving the strength of shoulder joint, you can perform the rotator cuff exercise. It would require you to lift some weight; make sure the weight is fairly light.
Start with lifting two weights in two hands. Hold the hands on both sides with the elbows bent and the weights facing up. Now start with the left hand and take it right to the front of your right hip and go back to the starting position and then bring the right hand to the front of your left hip and repeat. Do not lift a heavy weight and do not continue this exercise for too long as this might tear the ligaments or injure your shoulder.
Clamshell Exercise to Improve Joint Strength:
To increase the mobility and stretch of your hamstring, you need to do the clamshell exercise. For this exercise, you need to lie down on the floor on one side and then bend the hip and knees in 45 degree position with the feet. Hold the pelvis fixed to the ground and lift one knee upwards, without disconnecting the feet. Hold the position for a minute and then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Clamshell is a very effective mat exercise that perfects the deadlift and also activates the glutes.
Double Leg Bridge for Improving Joint Strength:
To do this exercise for improving joint strength, you need to lie down on the floor with your knees bent and slightly stretched away from your hips. Stretch the hands to sides with your palms pressing on the floor. Keep yourself comfortable and face up. Breathe in deeply and concentrate the pressure on the heels. Now pressing the heels and the palms on the floor, lift the hip without moving the head. Slowly exhale and then drop the hip on the floor slowly. Repeat this a few times.
Improving Joint Strength with Shoulder Extension Exercise:
You need a stretching band for this exercise to improve your joint strength. Stand with your legs apart, one leg stepping forward and one backward. Now hold one end of the stretching band in one hand and extend your hand upward. Now slide the other hand from your back to hold the loose end of the dangling stretching band from behind. Rotate the band in your wrist and pull the band. You will feel the stretch in both your shoulders, biceps and triceps.
Yoga and Pilates for Improving Joint Strength:
Things to Keep in Mind while Doing Exercises to Improve Joint Strength
There are a few things that you must keep in mind, while you are trying to improve your joint strength. These include –
Always try to keep your weight under check. Even slightest of weight loss can prove to be helpful in increasing mobility as well as in doing the exercises that are important for joint strength improvement.
Flexibility is important for increasing body mobility. However, never stretch your muscles and body before doing exercise or when the muscles are cold. At least practice some warm-up exercises and then stretch the muscles.
Never go beyond the tenacity of your muscles and joints. This will tear the muscles and ligaments. Stay within your range, so that you do not injure the joints and muscles.
If you have pain due to exercising, you must have hurt your joints and muscles due to over-exercising. Be less tough on yourself the next time when you exercise.
Never exercise when you already have an injury or have hurt your joints and bones. Wait for it to heal completely or else you will only worsen the problem.
Foods that Improve Joint Strength
There are many foods that actually help in increasing the strength of the bones. These are rich in calcium or at least help in the absorption of calcium to the bones. Hence, along with exercising, you must also include these foods into your diet in order to improve your joint strength.
Calcium Rich Cereal to Improve Joint Strength
Start your day with a high fibre, low sugar and calcium rich cereal. Add the cereal to milk and this will increase the calcium intake drastically. One portion or a cup of milk adds 600mg of calcium to the diet.
Those, who do not like milk and are looking for an alternative, can certainly go with yogurt. 8 ounce of yogurt has 400 mg of calcium. Even if you regularly drink milk, you can increase your calcium intake by consuming yogurt every day.
Milk Alternatives for Lactose Intolerant People
If you are lactose intolerant, you can go for the milk alternatives like almond milk and soy milk. These too have high calcium content and can be of benefit to improve joint strength .
Also known as the Asian Soybean, Edamame is a rich source of calcium which plays an important role in strengthening your joints. You can find them easily in the frozen section of the supermarkets. You can also get them in the fresh form. Just microwave them or simply boil them, add some sesame oil and consume it.
Leafy Greens and Other Greens
Greens with leaf and a dark colour are very rich in calcium. You must add as much of Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale, Bok Choy and Mustard Greens to your diet as possible to increase your joint strength. Along with these, you can also add broccoli or beans etc. to the diet to increase your calcium consumption content.
Proteins to Improve Joint Strength
Salmon, egg whites, lean meat, tuna, legumes, soy etc. have a high content of calcium. Have them in your diet if you want to improve joint strength.
Along with these, many people take the Vitamin D supplements, the multivitamin supplements and fish oil supplements that help in the production of more vitamin D that actually helps in the absorption of calcium in the body and improve joint strength. You can ask your doctor to recommend a good supplement for you or consult a doctor about a supplement that you want to take, before taking it. You can also sit in the sun for some time every day, so that it helps in the production of vitamin D which can be of benefit in improving joint strength.