Stay Strong in Three Simple Steps

By Amelia Harnish

Stay strong, avoid injuries, and prevent damage with our DIY guide. This plan works for everyone, whether you're hurting now or want to head off a problem before it starts. If you're in serious pain, you should be evaluated by a physical therapist or orthopedist, who can suggest modifications.

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Chair squat
Avery Powell

Stay Strong

Go for a walk or something. You may think rest is best for your joints, but experts say the opposite: Exercise keeps joints healthy by increasing the blood flow to them. If you're not already doing some type of aerobic activity, like brisk walking, tennis, or swimming, now is the time to start. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week. If you're a beginner or in pain, start by walking for 10 minutes just two days a week and increase the length and frequency as it gets easier.

Build up your muscle support.
Strengthening the muscles in your midsection is just as important to your hips and knees as strengthening the muscles in your legs. "When the muscles in your core are weak, your pelvis tilts, which throws everything off," says John Gallucci, Jr., founder of JAG Physical Therapy in New Jersey. Do these exercises, which work your legs and important core muscles, three times a week.

Chair Squat
Stand in front of a chair with feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, stomach muscles pulled in, and knees above your ankles, slowly lower your butt toward the chair, raising your arms forward to help with control and balance. Pause before actually sitting. Then slowly return to standing. Do one set of 10.

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