Use it or lose it. No where is this more true than with our joints. Joint stiffness, joint pain, and a loss of range of motion has less to do with age than it has to do with lack of use.
Our lives often lead us to a lot of sitting, which means our joints are not moving. How often do we allow our ankles, our knees, our hips to go through a full range of motion? Probably not often enough.
When we have joint stiffness, joint aches, and joint pain it takes much more effort to do the simplest of activities, discouraging us from doing the very thing that will make us feel better.
How do we break this cycle and make our joints be the levers that spring us into the joys of a more active life? Here are 8 simple tips to reduce joint pain and joint stiffness and fuel a more active life with less pain and more excitement.
- With each of these suggestions, make little improvements at a time. Gradual improvements allow our muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones to strengthen as they take on more activity. This helps reduce the risk of injury and/or being too sore to continue the next day. Improvements may seem slow at first, but believe me, it does not take long before you recognize how much better you feel, which will make activity more fun and enjoyable.
- Posture: There are such comfortable chairs out there that allow our bodies to go limp and let the chair support us. Whether you are sitting or standing, work on supporting your spine with your core, having your shoulders back and head straight. Many of our back, shoulder, and neck issues come from poor posture. Tightness in our shoulders and neck also lead to headaches.
- Warm Up: Start by walking, doing a light jog, bouncing on a rebounder, or something similar to get your body warm. Warming up helps pump more oxygen to your muscles, helps increase the elasticity in your muscles, and promotes synovial fluid to flow to the joints to act like a lubricant.
- Range of Motion: Once you are warm, do activities that take your joints through a full range of motion. Lunges, knee bends, and leg curls are examples of activities that can test the range of motion in your ankles, knees and hips. Remember gradual improvements. You can hold on to a bar or a table to support yourself as you begin these exercises.
- Increase Muscle Strength: As your muscle strength increases, the muscles begin to support resistance to your body more, relieving some of the pressure placed on the joints when they are forced to support the resistance. Muscles can be strengthened at any age. The key is doing a little bit more than you did yesterday. Gradual increases in muscle activity and a gradual increase of resistance to those muscles will increase your muscle strength.
- Weight Loss: Our body weight has a direct correlation to the stress placed on our joints. If you have excess body fat, there is a good chance that you have achy joints. Regular exercise not only strengthens your muscles and increases the range of motion of your joints, it, along with a healthy diet, can also help you lose weight. According to a study of overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, losing one pound of weight resulted in a decrease of 4 pounds of pressure on the participants knees. Thus, a loss of 10 lbs. would result in a 40 pound reduction of pressure on the knees.
- Nutrition: Optimal nutrition is key to the most effective functioning of each of our body’s activities. An article titled 9 Foods to Eat for Joint Health, written by Cara Rosenbloom and published on Good Rx on October 17, 2022 suggests 9 of the best foods for our joints. Each of these foods either acts as an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, or contains omega-3 fats. She also reminds us that cutting down on foods that increase inflammation, like refined flours, deep fried foods, trans-and saturated fats and red meat, does a wonder for our joint health.
The 9 types of food mentioned that are best for our joints are:
a. Sweet Peppers
b. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and bok choy which all have a compound called sulforaphane
c. Fatty fish
e. Chia seeds
- Supplements: In addition to these and other healthy foods, there are supplements available that promote joint health. A key ingredient in these supplements is Glucosamine. Glucosamine is the precursor for glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), the building blocks of hyaluronic acid and synovial fluid. These lubricants protect joints from friction. Glucosamine is also used to build cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Glucosamine stimulates the production of cartilage and decreases the enzymes that break it down. It is particularly effective in protecting and strengthening cartilage around the knees, hips, spine and hands.
With the increase in popularity of supplements to support joint health, there are lots of options to choose from. Make sure you choose a product from a trusted source that is known for sourcing the highest quality and most bio-available ingredients.
Beyond Health’s JOINT PROTECTION provides:
a. 1500mg of Glucosamine
b. Vitamin D3 and Manganese for bone strength
c. MSM to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress
d. Turmeric, Grape Seed Extract, and Sea Cucumber to reduce inflammation and reduce pain
e. Selenium to aid against cell damage
Here at Beyond Health, we're excited for you to participate in more of the activities you love by following these 8 simple tips to better joint health.