FITNESS

4 Things You Do That Are Ruining Your Joints

  • 1. You're Only A Runner
    1 / 4 1. You're Only A Runner

    Many patients seeking joint replacement are in good cardiovascular health, but not necessarily good physical health, Dr. Moucha says.

    If you only run, you might have imbalances when it comes to muscle strength and flexibility. And this, paired with repetitive trauma over time, could lead to arthritis, he notes, causing your joints to wear away. 

    Related: 7 Ways To Perfect Your Running Form

    “It’s important to cross-train,” says Dr. Moucha. Giving certain muscle groups (like the ones you use on long, slow jogs) a break once or twice a week while activating new muscles (like the ones you might use sprinting) can fend off injury, he notes. 

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  • 2. You Let Your Weight Go
    2 / 4 2. You Let Your Weight Go

    When you run, your knee joints carry 7 to 9 times your body weight, according to Dr. Moucha. 

    While your body can handle this—some research suggests that runners aren’t at an increased risk for issues like osteoarthritis—it’s important to keep the scale in check. 

    “From a biomechanical standpoint, increased weight is a lot of stress,” Dr. Moucha says. 

    In fact, research from the UK finds that overweight people are at a 40 percent or higher increased risk of a knee replacement down the line compared to those at normal weights. 

    The link was even stronger in younger people.

    Related: How To Build Muscle Fast Without Injuring Your Joints

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  • 3. You Skip Stretching
    3 / 4 3. You Skip Stretching

    The key to joint health? 

    Achieving a good balance between strength and flexibility, says Dr. Moucha. 

    “As you get older, you need to spend as much time, if not more time, stretching than strengthening.” 

    Why? Because the more candles on the birthday cake, the less flexible your muscles become, and flexible muscles help keep joints mobile.  

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  • 4. You Push Your Flexibility Too Far
    4 / 4 4. You Push Your Flexibility Too Far

    Intense workouts like HIIT and mud runs aren’t the only way to injure your joints.

    While exercises like yoga are great ways to boost flexibility and strength, anything extreme when it comes to range of motion—like reaching for that pose your body’s not quite ready for—can put you at risk for a joint injury, notes Dr. Moucha. 

    Related: Why Men Should Do Yoga

    “When you create range of motion extremes, you can create bony spurs (projections along a bone’s edges) that may predispose you to arthritis,” he says. 

    Your best bet isn’t to skip yoga but rather to stick with the modifications that work for you, he says. And give yourself time before trying anything you might not be ready for.

    Words by Cassie Shortsleeve

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