Have you ever noticed running tracks at secondary schools and colleges—and some public park tracks? They are made of a kind of almost bouncy material, which is actually a synthetic latex rubberized composition.
There’s a reason for that. For track competition, where the athletes’ joints take a lot of pounding, there are international standards that have to be met. Joints DO take a pounding on hard surfaces, and anything that can be done to mitigate damage to knees, ankles and hips is important.
So, if you run for exercise, I hope you have access to a track that gives your joints an easier time of it. ESPECIALLY if you’re somewhat older, and your joints are starting to complain on occasion—or more often, with worn or damaged cartilage.
Exercise is vitally important for our health and well-being. And running is great exercise for—at least the lower part of your body.
But there IS a better way… find a pool and swim!
It is totally non-impact—PLUS it exercises the whole body—arms, torso and legs. And you can raise your heart rate and breathing just as well, if not better, than you can running. All this while your joints can move, but don’t take a pounding. This is a no brainer….
Even those with arthritis, sprained ankles, knee problems or hip problems can get in the water to exercise. If you can’t manage to swim, there are plenty of water exercises to do that take the weight off your joints and let you move without pain.
Personally, I prefer swimming sprints to raise my breathing and heart rate to a higher level. Check out Dr. Al Sears’ Pace Program to see how it might benefit you. But any water exercise or swimming is good for you.
Your joints will not deteriorate from high-impact exercise, plus, you’ll exercise your whole body.
By the way, if you really don’t like water in your ears or you have an ear infection—get ear plugs or ear putty.
So check out a local swim club or YMCA, or perhaps a municipal pool, for their lap swim schedule, or, if you prefer, their water exercise programs and equipment. And if you have arthritis or back problems, most Y’s and some private swim clubs have the Arthritis Foundation Water Exercise Program that exercises your joints in warm water. Having been an instructor in that program, I know how much it benefits those who have arthritis—and/or back problems– that make it impossible to exercise on land. I’ve been told by just about all my participants that the water exercise was enormously helpful, and they were diligent about attending.
Actually, local doctors prescribed my program to their arthritis patients and patients with back problems.
Some communities only have an outdoor pool available in summer. If that’s the case, as it is with me now, swim when you can. Anything is better than nothing. And a year-round indoor pool is a God-Send!
Give those joints a break!