Three major joints in the body have to be strengthened by everyone over the age of 50. Otherwise, growing older will be a miserable experience.
You probably already know that a joint is where two bones meet. Something else you may know: Bones are connected to each other by dense white tissues called ligaments. Muscles are connected to bones by thick tendons at each end of the muscle. As we get older, these white tissues tend to contract, or shrink. This makes the joint stiff and harder to move, limiting its range of motion.
When you don’t have full range of motion in a joint, you’re forced to make smaller movements. This is a setup for injury. If the joint is accidentally stretched past its limited range of motion, the non-pliable and brittle connective tissues may sprain or tear. How many people over 50 do you know who have sprained or torn a ligament or tendon and had to have surgery or wear a brace?
It would be great if all middle-agers worked on stretching and moving every joint in their body three or four times a week. Everyone would be more flexible. Tissues would be pliable and easy to move. There would be less pain and far fewer injuries. But even with all the benefits, few folks will have the discipline to do it. However, if you work on just three joints every other day, it will help your vigor and flexibility, no matter what your age (this goes for those of you in your 40’s as well).
The three joints are shoulders, knees and ankles. These joints are used every time you reach for something or take a step. They are easy to work. If you wish to walk with a youthful spring, moving around without pain or limitation, you need only a few easy exercises, each of which can be done at home.
Strengthen and extend your shoulder range of motion by placing hands at shoulder level. Lift your arms above your head and bring them back to your shoulder. Next, with hands at shoulder position, push the arms straight out in front of you and pull them back. Follow with arms at your sides; lifting them out and up to shoulder level. Finish by holding your arms out to the side and rotating them, first in small circles, then larger ones as your strength increases. Do each movement five to 10 times, depending on the difficulty. As it become easier, do the exercises while holding a pair of one to two pound dumbbells.
Exercising these joints will help your body stay strong and pain-free for the rest of your life.