We give our joints a pretty hard time every day – think about how often you have sore or aching shoulders, hips, elbows and knees. Illness and injury are big causes of joint pain, but arthritis, osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal issues are also common contributors – one in 11 Aussies suffer from osteoarthritis alone. Ageing can also impact your joints, I’m afraid. But there are some things that are definitely helpful to be kinder to your joints – and are good for your overall health too.
Prepare for impact
If your knees are constantly telling you that they don’t like high impact sports (think road running, netball and football) – then maybe it’s time to listen. Lower impact exercise is not a soft way out. In fact, we love swimming, soft sand running, rowing, bike riding and golf. But please warm up before any form of exercise – stretching is crucial to help maintain a good range of motion in your joints. Think shoulder rolls, side bends, hip rolls and hamstring stretches.
Keep in motion
The more you move cannot be overstated. Our sedentary lives are literally killing us. I know it can be much harder in the various stages of coronavirus lockdowns, but there are ways to keep moving. And remember, the more you move, the less stiffness you’ll have. Change positions frequently. Have standing phone meetings or better still walk round the block. Do squats while you’re waiting for the microwave, and don’t slouch – good posture is important for good joints too.
Lighten the load
Your weight affects the strain on your knees, hips and back. Keeping your body weight within a healthy range will lessen stress on your joints. It’s not always easy; but following the other tips here all go a long way towards helping maintain a healthy weight. Lower impact exercise like swimming or a restorative yoga practice are great to get movement in without excess pressure on your joints if you are working towards weight loss.
Break some muscle
Get stronger to give your joints better support. Weight training exercises help build muscle and keep them strong. Avoid incorrect lifting and quick jerking moments Rather, try slow time under tension weights - Body by Science is great way to get it done safely and efficiently. Following functional patterns is also an excellent way to build muscle and correct deficiencies In your posture.
Nourish your body
Your diet is so important to nourish your body and your joints crave many nutrients. Studies reveal that eating foods part of the Mediterranean Diet can help curb inflammation, benefit your joints and support weight loss, which can lessen joint pain. Also, try green tea and supplementing your diet with collagen as improves joint mobility and flexibility (we have a good one here, just saying). We also love Vitamin C because of its role as a co-factor in collagen synthesis and magnesium taken at night to help with inflammation.