How to Avoid Joint Pain at the Gym
There’s nothing more demotivating than having to take time off from your routine when you’re in a good fitness groove. Joint pain is the culprit behind many fitness setbacks and injuries. Ambition and dedication can only take you so far. The other big piece of the puzzle is injury prevention.
It all starts with figuring out the difference between discomfort and pain in your body—knowing when to push through and when to ease off. Say YES to exercise and NO to pain with these joint-friendly tips, thanks to a little help from the experts at the Arthritis Foundation.
If you have joint pain…
BEFORE You Work Out:
Lower the intensity of your workout or shorten it all together if you’re experiencing pain going into they gym. If your pain is specific to one area, work on another muscle group that day and give your body a rest. It’s not worth it to overdo it. Constant pressure on a sore joint could lead to joint damage. Think twice before pushing on.
WHILE You Work Out:
If you’re experiencing moderate to severe pain in your joints while you sweat it out it’s best to stop what you’re doing immediately. While you can usually push through mild pain in a safe way, anything above that may be an indication of inflammation in the joint—meaning it’s time to back off. Worse case scenario, you could have joint damage and need treatment.
AFTER You Work Out:
You shouldn’t be dealing with constant joint pain after your work outs. If you’re downing Advil like vitamins post-gym it’s a pretty good sign you’re going too far. Consider incorporating swimming or biking into your routine to give your joints a break, while keeping your muscles strong.
It’s also important to take a look at the nutrition factor at play here. One of the best things you can do to keep your bones in tip-top shape before, during or after your work out is to avoid inflammatory foods— especially those high in sugar and saturated fat. Instead, chow down on anti-inflammatory foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon or tuna.