Dr Caitriona Cunningham
Chartered physiotherapist, Dr Caitriona Cunningham, shares advice on how exercise and movement can benefit bones, joints and muscles.
Top tips to keep health bones and joints
- Movement and exercise are good for maintaining bone and joint health. This means sitting less, doing more general, everyday physical activity and participating in structured exercise programmes and sports.
- Adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. For example, very brisk walking or light cycling.
- There’s always an exercise to suit – you just need to find the right type for you. Walking programmes suit a lot of people who just need to get started. It helps integrate exercise into a busy life on an ongoing basis.
- Maintaining a healthy weight by combining a physically active lifestyle with a healthy diet will help prevent the overloading of joints, which can lead to joint pain and arthritis.
- As we age, we lose bone and muscle mass. It’s recommended that adults train each major muscle group 2/3 days each week using exercises and equipment. Impact exercises (e.g. skipping, marching, running, jumping) are also recommended to prevent, and slow down loss of bone.
- At work and in your home, consider ways that you can reduce the risk of joint and muscle problems. Move regularly and think before you lift – get assistance, or use lifting and moving equipment for heavier tasks. Consider how you can best arrange your work set up e.g. your desk, chair and computer.
- If you have specific health issues, or a painful muscle or joint problem, you may benefit from the guidance of a physiotherapist to get you on the right exercise track.
- Being active, taking exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are good for managing chronic joint and muscle pain. Expect muscle soreness when starting a new type of exercise.
- Obviously, if you have an acute bone or joint injury it may require a health professional consultation. Combined with a defined period of taking it easy but it will be important to get moving again to achieve recovery.