Healthy Joints: Part 2
Joel Peterson – Level 5 Personal Trainer Apple Athletic Club
Last week we looked at the use of Fish Oil Omega 3’s for more flexible joints. This week we will explore additional steps we can employ to help our joints become stronger, healthier and more resistant to injury.
Most people have experienced joint pain at one time or another and know just how debilitating injured or inflamed joints can be. Let’s remember the old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Let’s look at the joint.
A joint is the connection between two bones. Joints and their surrounding structures allow you to bend your elbows and knees, wiggle your hips, bend your back, turn your head, and wave your fingers. Smooth tissue called cartilage and synovium and a lubricant called synovial fluid cushion the joints so bones do not rub together. But increasing age, injury — even sitting the wrong way or carrying too much weight — can wear and tear your cartilage. This can lead to a reaction that can damage your joints and lead to arthritis. The best way to care for your joints is to keep them and your muscles, ligaments, and bones strong and stable. Here are some tips for good joint health.
- Watch Your Weight for Healthy Joints: Keeping your weight within a healthy range is the best thing you can do for your joints. Weight-bearing joints, such as your knees, hips, and back, have to support some, if not all, of your body weight. That’s why so many overweight people have problems with these areas of the body.
- Exercise for Healthy Joints: Exercise can help you lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Some research suggests that aerobic exercise — activities that get your heart rate up — can reduce joint swelling. If your joints bother you, opt for exercises that won’t give your joints a pounding. Instead of step aerobics, try low-impact exercises such as swimming or bicycling. Don’t sit still! Less movement means more stiffness in your joints. Change positions frequently. Do it now!
- Build Muscles to Support Joints: Strong muscles support your joints. If you don’t have enough muscle, your joints take a pounding, especially your spine, hips, and knees, which must support your entire body weight. Weight training exercises help build muscle and keep your muscles and surrounding ligaments strong. That way, your joints don’t have to do all the work.
- Help Joints With a Strong Core: Make sure your exercise routine includes activities that strengthen your core. That includes your chest, back, and abdomen. Stronger abs and back muscles help you keep your balance and prevent falls that can damage your joints.
- Perfect Your Posture for Good Joints: Slouching is not good for your joints. Standing and sitting up straight protects your joints from your neck to your knees. Good posture also helps guard your hip joints and back muscles.
- Eating Right Nourishes Joints: Eating a healthy diet is good for your joints, because it helps build strong bones and muscles. For your bones, make sure you get enough calcium every day. You can do this by eating foods such as yogurt, broccoli, kale, spinach, figs, and fortified foods like almond milk. If you have a problem eating those foods (and I hope you don’t) ask Doctor Ward about a calcium supplement that’s right for you. You also need vitamin D to keep your bones and joints in good health. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from the foods you eat. If you can’t get 15 minutes of sunlight a day consider a D-3 supplement or vitamin D fortified foods. You can ask Doctor Ward about the proper amount of vitamin D and ways you can get it.
Omega-3 and Glucosamine – A Powerful Combination for Osteoarthritis
Your body is fully capable of rebuilding cartilage and synovial fluid, but in order to effectively do so it needs the proper building blocks.
In this case, it needs glucosamine to rebuild both cartilage and synovial fluid, so correcting this deficiency by using a high quality supplement can definitely be helpful. Together with the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3, the pain you experience may be significantly reduced as your condition improves.
In the latest study, participants with moderate-to-severe hip or knee osteoarthritis who received 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate along with 200 mg of omega-3 had greater pain reduction and fewer OA symptoms (morning stiffness, pain in hips and knees) than those who took glucosamine by itself.
So there you have it. These guidelines will help keep your joints healthy and mobile for life. They also will greatly help if you have joint damage by accident, neglect or arthritis. What are you waiting for? Stand up! Move around! Walk to the kitchen or better yet, the store and get some wholesome food in you that your joints will thank you for.