8 Stretches To Promote Joint Health In The Winter

8 Stretches To Promote Joint Health In The Winter

November 14, 2018

The cold winter weather can make our joints lock up, which leads to aches, pains, and stiffness. We also have a tendency to move less and sit more during the winter, and this inactivity can cause a deterioration of our joints and bones.


So don’t let yourself fall into the winter weather bone blues. With a few simple, daily stretches you can improve your joint health, prevent stiffness, stay active, and feel stronger than you have in years.


Here are the 8 best stretches to promote joint health this winter.


  1. Trunk rotation

Before you even get up in the morning, you can do the trunk rotation right in your bed. This will loosen tension in your lower back and hips, and it will help rejuvenate your blood flow to boost your energy throughout the day.


  • Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Your arms should be outstretched flat on either side of you.
  • While still bent, slowly rock both legs to the left. Let them rest on the bed or floor.
  • Keep your shoulder blades against the bed or floor as you do this. When you rotate, your torso should stay still and only your hips should move.
  • Hold the twist for a count of 10.
  • Slowly bring your legs back to their original position.
  • Do the same movement on the right and hold for 10.
  • Repeat five times on each side, alternating slowly.

  1. Knee to chest stretch

Here’s another stretch you can do before you get out of bed. We love this one because it elongates your lower back, hamstrings, knees, and hips. It gets the blood circulating as well, so you’ll be ready to take on the day ahead of you.


  • Lie on your back and gently bend both knees with your feet flat on the bed, similar to the initial position in the trunk rotation.
  • Take hold of your left knee in both hands. Gently pull the knee towards your chest. You should feel it stretching in the back of your leg and lower back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. Then release your knee and bring your foot back down to the bed.
  • Repeat on the right side.
  • Do three reps on alternating sides.

  1. Shoulder rolls

Most Americans hold their stress and tension in their neck and shoulders. This can cause you to raise and tighten your shoulders, which leads to bad posture. Bad posture puts strain on the rest of your bone structure, so you’ll end up having pain everywhere—just from the strain in your shoulders!


So start every morning with a few shoulder rolls.


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms hanging loosely against your body.
  • Roll your shoulders forward 10 times.
  • Roll your shoulders backward 10 times.
  • Shrug your shoulders up and down 10 times.
  • Repeat for three reps.

Read: Which Foods Should I Eat And Avoid For Bone Health?


  1. Side bends

Feeling stiff at your desk? Take a second to stand up and bend sideways. When you’re sitting in the office, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your core and lower back. Side bends invert your upright posture, which can help change the way you’re body sits at rest. After a few side bends, you’ll feel more limber and relaxed when you sit back down at your computer.


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Your knees should be bent slightly and comfortable. Pull your stomach in.
  • Reach your right arm up and over your head, reaching over to the left. While doing this, slide your left arm down your leg so your fingers touch your knee.
  • Lean into the stretch comfortably. Pull back if you’re feeling any pain.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Return to a standing position.
  • Repeat on the other side, reaching your left arm over your head and sliding your right hand down to your knee. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat three times on both sides.

  1. Hip swings

Did you know that most joint pain actually originates from a problem in the hips? The hips are the trunk of your body, and they help keep your other bones and joints aligned. If your hips are weak or out of alignment, the rest of your body will be “off” as well. Hip swings help strengthen the hip joints and regain balance to the pelvic region.


  • Stand to the left of a sturdy chair. Bend your knees slightly, and put your left hand on the chair for support.
  • Slowly swing your left leg forward and backwards. Keep a slight bend in your knee.
  • Keep your back straight. Do not arch your spine. Only move as far back and forward as you can without moving your torso.
  • Swing back and forth 10 times.
  • Move to the right side of the chair and continue with the right leg. Repeat for 10 swings.
  • Do three reps on each side.

  1. Hamstring stretch

While you have the chair on hand, stretch out your hamstrings. Tight hamstrings can actually cause knee and lower back pain. Loosening the back of your legs will help you walk better and straighter by taking the strain off of your knee and hip joints.


  • Sit at the edge of the chair.
  • Straighten your left leg in front of you. Rest your heel on the floor. If this is uncomfortable, you can rest your heel on a small stool.
  • Sit up straight and gently bend forward at the hips. Bend until you feel a slight pull on the back of your left leg.
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Keep breathing.
  • Sit up slowly and bring your foot back to a regular seated position.
  • Repeat on the right.
  • Alternate for three reps on each side.

Learn more about the importance of your hamstrings with Yoga Journal.


  1. Elbow wrist stretch

You may not even notice your elbow until the cold weather comes and stiffens up your joints. Elbow problems become increasingly problematic for those who play sports (specifically contact sports and tennis) and those who work at desks that aren’t ergonomically sound.


With this stretch, you stretch your wrist flexor, which helps loosen the muscles along your forearm and elbow. This gets rid of “tennis elbow” and joint arthritis in your arm.


  • Hold your arm straight so your elbow isn’t bent. Your palms should be facing upwards.
  • Use your other hand to hold the fingers of the outstretched hand. Gently pull your fingers down and backwards toward your body. You should feel it in your inner forearm.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Do three reps on both sides.

  1. Serratus punch

The Serratus punch works your shoulder joints. You’ll especially love this exercise if you tend to get knots around your shoulder blades, because this helps to open and release tension in your upper back.


You can use light dumbbells in each hand to make it more challenging, but we recommend starting the lifts without weights. You can even use water bottles to add resistance without risking injury.


  • Lie on your back. Extend your arms in front of you towards the ceiling. Keep your elbows straight.
  • Push your shoulders forward towards the ceiling, lifting your shoulder blades off the floor.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Release shoulders down to floor.
  • Do these reps 20 to 30 times.

Conclusion


Take care of your joints this winter, and they’ll take care of you!


At MedZone, it’s our job to make everybody feel better. That starts with injury prevention and joint care.


If you’re feeling pain, try out our PainZone formula. This topical analgesic relieves tired muscles and joint aches, so you can get back in the game fast. You’ll especially love the roll on formula so you can grab it and go on your way out the door during the winter season!


Check out PainZone to start feeling relief fast.


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