Exercise plays a vital role in strengthening your joints. The more you move your joints, the less stiff they will become. Bones and joints become strong when they are forced to bear weight greater than they are used to. This can be done by performing weight bearing exercises and high impact exercises such as weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, jogging, plyometrics, and aerobics.
Until the age of 25-30 years, your bone mass will increase much like your muscles in response to heavy bone loading. However, by the age of 40 you begin to lose bone mass and high-impact exercises may be harmful to your joints. Performing low impact, weight bearing exercises will be able to significantly reduce the rate of bone loss and may even reverse the trend to some extent. These exercises also strengthen the muscles around the joints which provide them with extra support as well. Here are a few exercises to strengthen the major joints and muscles of your body.
One Leg Balance: Standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Shift all your weight to one foot without the knee being locked. Lift the opposite foot off the ground and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. A slightly more difficult variation would be to lift the raised leg to the side while keeping it straight. This is a great exercise to strengthen the muscles that stabilize your leg and keep your balance when you are walking or bending. Perform 10-12 repetitions.
Superman: Lie face down on the ground with your arms out in front. Using your core muscles arch your back slightly while lifting your arm and legs above the ground. Hold position for about 10 seconds and release. Perform 10-12 repetitions.
Rotator Cuff Internal Rotation: With your elbow flexed at a 90-degree angle, stand with your lifting arm close to a cable machine. Rotate your arm bringing your hand inwards towards your belly. Perform 10-12 repetitions.
Rotator Cuff External Rotation: With your elbow flexed at a 90-degree angle, stand with your lifting arm away from a cable machine. Rotate your hand outwards away from your abdomen.
Squat: Stand with your toes pointing forward and feet shoulder width apart. Lower yourself while keeping your back straight until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second and return slowly to upright position. Perform 10-12 repetitions slowly.
Performing these exercises 2-3 times a week will strengthen the joints of your knees, hips, back and shoulders allowing you to maintain an active lifestyle.