Protect Your Joints with these Strengthening Workouts

Our joints are meant to last a lifetime. Due to sedentary lifestyles, the muscles which provide support and stability to our joints may not be as conditioned to protect them. The increasing rates of obesity contribute to this problem, as an increase in body weight adds extra loading to the joints, hence causing accelerated wear and tear.

Other causes of early joint degeneration include previous injuries, such as cartilage injuries. Joint degeneration or osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in Singapore. As these conditions affect activities of daily living, such as walking, standing, climbing stairs and squatting, a person suffering from osteoarthritis of a joint may be severely affected at work or play.

Joints get lubricated by movement, and modern conveniences are depriving us of the much needed stimulation. For instance, the advent of sitting toilets has diminished the need for us to squat, hence the mobility and range of motion of our hip, knee and ankle joints are less stimulated. Escalators and lifts reduce the effort of muscles required for us to get to higher ground. Muscles of the hip and knee, over time, would have reduced strength and endurance to manage simple tasks such as climbing up and down the stairs.

In Singapore, the knee joint is most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. Physiotherapists play an important role in assessing various impairments and correcting biomechanical factors that contribute to osteoarthritis. The impairments and factors include the following:

  1. Reduced muscular strength and endurance
  2. Reduced muscle flexibility
  3. Restricted or stiff joint range of movement
  4. Poor balance
  5. Excessive body weight

Therapeutic exercises are often prescribed to individuals with these knee impairments. The commonly affected muscles are the core muscles, gluteal muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves; hence the following exercises will target them.

Therapeutic exercises

 


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In conclusion, an active lifestyle will condition our muscles and joints so that we can perform our daily activities. Regular exercises may protect our joints and add years of active living for our enjoyment.


 

Mr Justin Wee 

Mr Justin Wee is a Senior Physiotherapist at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He has completed his Masters in High Performance Science at Bond University, Australia. His area of interest includes sports and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, strength and condition and functional training.