How the Right Exercise Can Keep Your Joints Healthy


Contributors: Gary Calabrese, PT and Robert Molloy, MD

Thanks to our healthy joints, we can move, run, jump, twist and turn.

Our joints are connected by ligaments and muscles for stability. They have a layer of smooth, white tissue called articular cartilage on the ends of the bones that help distribute compression forces and allow for smooth gliding when we move.

Keeping your joints healthy to reduce the wear and tear on the cartilage is a key component to having an active lifestyle and continuing to play the sports you love. Healthy joints also play an important role in preventing early-onset joint replacement surgeries —  especially hip and knee arthroplasties.

Exercises that reduce the load on the joints while using one’s core muscles are crucial to long-lasting function and reduce the potential for early arthritis.  So it’s imperative for your joint health to continue to move and pick the right exercises.

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Variety is key

The key to a successful exercise program is variety. Completing a balance of aerobic, muscle strengthening and flexibility exercises, along with keeping a healthy weight, will provide the base for good joint health for a lifetime.

Above all, you should pick exercises and activities that you enjoy and  that meet the low joint load described above.

More information
Guide to sports health

This post is based on one of a series of articles produced by U.S. News & World Report in association with the medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.