Juicy joints: 3 moves to keep your joints pain-free
Once we start losing our estrogen we may begin to feel the effects of losing the anti-inflammatory effect this hormone has on our joints. Many times, women get diagnosed with arthritis due to the pain and stiffness we may feel in our joints at this time.
While for some this is a true diagnosis, for many of us, movement will help ease the pain and keep our bodies “juicy”. There may be a transition period where you must let your body adapt to its new physiology and sometimes you may need to push through a little pain to get to the other side. However, severe pain is never good, and movement should be stopped if this is the case.
One way to keep pain to a minimum is to start with a good warm-up before continuing with your resistance work or other exercise. Aerobic activity done for around 20 minutes seems to help prepare the body for more impact or weight bearing exercises and decreases pain.
Here are some good exercises that I always include in a routine for menopausal women that target good range of motion and weight bearing on the joints.
These are particularly important at this stage in a women’s life. When we lose the fat deposits surrounding the hips, we lose some of the substance giving us the structure we need. One way to compensate for this is to do exercises that keep the surrounding muscle group active. This next exercise will also keep full range of motion and flexibility in the joint, hopefully keeping the pain and stiffness away.
Hip rotator exercise
- Begin by lying on your side with both knees bent and one arm under your head, the other arm supporting you.
- Inhale to lift the knee towards the ceiling, keeping the feet together.
- Exhale to lower
- Repeat up to 8X
We see a lot of shoulder issues in this population for many reasons. One of which is a shifting posture. For some women, a rounding of the spine becomes more prevalent. Overhead shoulder movements become a little harder to perform correctly. This could lead to issues with the shoulder joint itself. However, it is important to keep this area moving. Keeping the body face down (prone) while lifting the arms overhead seems to help keep the shoulder joint “Juicy” without any undue stress.
- Lie prone with your legs straight and elbows on the mat beside you at shoulder level. The arms are bent.
- Inhale to lift the arms off the mat.
- Exhale to move the arms over the head.
- Inhale to return the arms and exhale to lower them back to the mat
- Repeat 8X
Knees and elbows
These joints seem to really play up during the change of menopause. Keeping them strong and moving will help. Use light weights for the arms. This may not be the time to overload the joints if they are sore. Use a step or even the stairs to perform this next exercise. Only lower your body to a point of comfort for your knees.
- Stand in front of the step with light weights in your hands
- Exhale and place one foot on the step, bend both knees as you lift the weights towards your shoulders.
- Inhale to press away from the step trying to keep the leg off the floor to help with balance.
- Repeat 8X.