Our joints have an important job when it comes to how we move. Disease, wear and tear, even our diet can affect the health of our joints. Since we rely on our joints for mobility and flexibility, tending to their care is essential. Keep reading to learn how to improve joint health.
How To Improve Joint Health
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to joint health:
- What we eat affects our joint health
- Movement affects our joint health
- Preventing disease affects our joint health
- Our diets can influence the health of our joints
In the same way we eat to nourish our bodies, we can use food to help keep our joints healthy. Foods that reduce inflammation can help our joints stay strong and flexible and reduce pain from swelling. Try eating foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation.
Some common foods are:
- Salmon or fatty fish
- Nuts and seeds
- Plant oils
Eating to keep your joints healthy should also include foods that support the surrounding tissues. Our joints work in conjunction with our bones, ligaments, and muscles. Eating well to support the other structures of the body just makes sense.
Foods high in calcium and Vitamin D are great for healthy bones. You can easily achieve the daily recommended amount by eating high-quality dairy foods. You can also check labels for fortified foods that are vitamin-packed to aid in getting the vitamins you need for optimal health.
Exercise Promotes Healthy Joints
Our joints are designed to help us move. Their flexibility is what makes it possible to move our knees, elbows, and more. We need healthy joints for performance, especially during exercise. It’s hard to know which comes first, healthy joints for movement or movement for healthy joints, but they do go hand-in-hand.
Healthy bodies free from joint pain and disease benefit from regular exercise. Without restrictions, our bodies stay healthier when we keep our muscles and joints working through moderate exercise.
Aerobic exercise and strength training assists in keeping joints functioning properly. If our bodies do suffer from pain or disease, low-impact exercise is beneficial. Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is important to joint health, so finding an exercise plan that fits is key.
Preventing Joint Disease is Key
Arthritis is a condition that causes swelling and pain in the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the body which refers to the general wear and tear on joints that leads to the wearing away of cartilage. Though arthritis is considered a joint-related disease, it can affect other areas of the body.
Preventing arthritis is an important way to prevent joint pain and reduced mobility. Some of the best prevention methods are:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Do not ignore joint pain
- Give yourself a massage
- Keeping a consistent exercise plan
- Eating well to reduce inflammation
Our joints are an important part of how we move. Keeping them healthy is easy when we realize we can control many of the factors that affect them. Proper diet, exercise, and massaging joints with a high-quality Ayurvedic herbal massage oil are the keys to keeping our flexibility.
How To Give Yourself a Massage for Joint Health
Use Food to Reduce Joint Pain and Stiffness
Foods Ideal For Collagen Production
There is a lot of information out there about foods that support collagen production. While it can be confusing, keeping things simple help. Start with foods that tend to be higher in collagen. You can also speak with your physician or dietician to get more ideas.
Bone broth is said to be one of the highest resources for collagen. Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissues from animals in water and seasoning. Since the bones are infused with collagen and other vital nutrients that promote collagen production it is said to be a fast-track source of collagen production for the body.
Eggs are a complete food. Though they aren’t technically made of connective tissue, they do have a significant amount of proline which is one of the amino acids needed to produce collagen. Since eggs are so versatile it’s easy to incorporate them into nearly any diet.
Poultry meat, especially chicken, is considered a favorite for collagen production. Chicken has a lot of connective tissue that can be cooked and consumed enhancing the production of collagen in the body.
Collagen Supplements Support Collagen Production Too
Supplements are another way to support collagen production. There are a variety of studies that show supplements can help boost collagen which helps skin look and feel great as well as reduce pain in joints. It’s important to find reputable sources for collagen supplements to be certain you are getting the right quality.
Collagen supplements can be powdered or in capsules. They are created by extracting collagen from animals. Some studies show that supplements may be easier for the body to absorb and a supplement can replace or enhance collagen from food sources.
Collagen is an essential part of healthy skin, bones, muscles…and joints. Increasing your collagen intake can help you keep the cartilage and connective tissues healthy in your joints, making sure you stay mobile and pain-free.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids Help Reduce Inflammation
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish and other seafood. They are a perfect anti-inflammatory food source. Fish oil supplements can also be used if seafood isn’t easily available or preferable.
Secondary to fatty fish are nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are an excellent way to increase your intake of omega 3’s. Walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, and chia seeds are great for reducing inflammation in joints and other connective tissue.
Cruciferous Vegetables Help Reduce Inflammation
While all vegetables are amazing, some are excellent for reducing inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables are perfect for fighting joint pain. Leafy green vegetables like mustard greens, arugula, and purple cabbage are excellent choices. Also, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower are great. Adding these vegetables regularly to your diet can help ease pain and reduce swelling.
The Right Oil Can Reduce Inflammation
Not all oils are the same. Some oils contribute to inflammation while others reduce it. Vegetable, peanut, and sunflower oils can lead to swelling and pain in the joints.
Stick with olive oil to help reduce inflammation and help keep your food tasting great. Olive oil is unsaturated fat that you can use for cooking, salad dressings, or a dip for your favorite vegetables. Try to find the least processed oil for maximum benefits.
Joint stiffness, injuries, or disease can lead to joint pain. It’s possible to manage your pain and your joint health with food. Choosing anti-inflammatory foods from a wide variety of sources will help keep your diet tasty while you fight joint pain.
Collagen Helps Promote Joint Mobility
Our joints are important for mobility. Believe it or not, our bodies have over 200 joints helping us move, bend, swivel, and more. Each joint relies on cartilage to stay healthy and fluid. Cartilage is a connective tissue that coats the surfaces of the bones in the joint cushioning it from impact.
Collagen helps maintain the integrity of the cartilage, helping the joints stay healthy. Collagen decreases as we age which can lead to degenerative joint disorders including arthritis.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is vital for skin, hair, nails, bones, and muscles. It is abundant throughout the body, but production slows as we age. Thankfully we can increase the collagen in our bodies through food sources and supplements. The foods we eat can aid in the production of collagen. We can also use supplements to cover all the bases.
3 Easy Ways to Modify Exercise for Proper Joint Care
Exercise is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy body. Proper diet and exercise promote a healthy balance for life. Our joints are made to help us move, bend, twist, and more. Proper joint care means we can exercise easily and enjoy a wide variety of activities.
Under normal circumstances, there are very few limits placed on joints. They are designed to withstand the rigors of exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding illness and injury help ensure joints don’t have too much pressure and can continue to provide fluid movement.
Sometimes despite our best efforts, joints can swell, lose mobility, or be damaged. In these cases, exercise is still very important though it may need to be modified. Thankfully there are ways to enjoy low impact activities that help the body stay healthy without aggravating stiff or painful joints.
Why Movement Matters!
Having painful joints may contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. That makes sense, no one wants to voluntarily cause themselves pain. It might seem like staying still is the best practice when you have joint pain, but it could lead to bigger problems. A sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and bone loss.
It's important to find ways to move that support your joints and helps them keep as much range of motion as possible. As a matter of fact, moving your joints may help reduce the pain that you feel. Done in moderation, most low-impact exercise is very beneficial even when you have an illness or injury.
Depending on your personal preferences, there are a lot of ways to enjoy low-impact exercise.
Here are 3 easy ways to modify exercise for proper joint care:
- Get outside more
- Enjoy water-based activities
- Try bodyweight resistance exercises
Get Outside and Get Some Exercise
Whether it’s a walk in the fresh air or gardening, being outside is a great way to get some exercise. People tend to enjoy being physical when it’s something they love. Being outside can feel less like working out and more like having fun. If you tend to resist traditional types of workouts, convince yourself to get outside and you’ll have many of the same benefits as hitting the gym.
Water-based Exercise is Great For Joints
Being in the water is a wonderful way to ease the burden off joints and move freely. People who suffer from joint pain often find it easier and more enjoyable to try water-based activities than being on dry land. The buoyancy they feel in the water helps them feel better and more able to move. There are many types of water-based activities including free swim and water aerobics. Many gyms offer indoor pools that make water activities accessible year-round.
Use Your Bodyweight to Your Advantage
Activities like yoga and Pilates are a great way to stretch and strengthen without jarring the joints. Both practices use body weight to tone muscle and increase flexibility. Since many activities can be lying down there is much less impact on joints. Focusing on large muscle groups can help avoid pain in smaller joints as well.
Exercise is beneficial for everyone…even people with joint pain. Thankfully, you don’t have to stop being active if you suffer from stiff joints. Some simple modifications may be all you need to stay fit and keep your joints moving. Find activities that you enjoy and modify them to accommodate your specific needs.
Prevention! Avoiding Injuries Altogether
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – Benjamin Franklin
Wouldn’t it be great if we could avoid injury altogether? To some extent you can. Prevention goes a long way when it comes to managing our joints. There is plenty that can be done to keep ourselves from hurting our joints and with some simple precautions we can keep our joints healthy and moving well throughout our lifetime.
Be sure to:
- Listen to your body
- Eat an anti-inflammation diet
- Wear proper shoes
- Use braces or wraps
- Rest when injured
Listen To Your Body
Whether you are working in the yard or training to run a marathon your body will let you know when it has reached its limit. Pay close attention to what your body is saying. Pushing your body past it’s limit could have consequences. Be sure you are stopping when your body has had enough. There’s a line between building stamina and causing injury. Listen to what your body is saying and modify or cease when it’s reached a limit.
Eat To Live Rather Than Live To Eat
Food can be fuel, medicine, and a reward. Be sure you are using your diet to its maximum. Choose foods for their health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties. Many of the foods you need to help one area of your health will also support joint health. Be proactive and prevent joint injury or illness by choosing an anti-inflammatory diet. This includes whole foods, spices, and supplements that reduce inflammation.
Choose Shoes Wisely
Wearing proper shoes can make all the difference. From walking on the day-to-day to running, there is a perfect shoe for every occasion. Many joints are affected by our walking, running, jumping, and more. Ankles, knees, hips all feel the impact when you choose bad shoes. Making sure your footwear is appropriate and supportive can make all the difference. Shoes are not treated the same. Even brand name shoes have a wide range of features. Be sure to do research and make sure the shoes you buy have the best materials and design for your joints.
Brace Yourself For Impact
Many joints can be protected by braces or wraps. From ankles, knees, wrists, to most other joints, you can protect them if you are prone to injury. Braces and wraps can be purchased over the counter or be specially customized if necessary.
Get Plenty of Rest
Your body needs rest…even when you don’t feel joint pain. Making sure you get plenty of rest can help joints recover from strenuous activity or simply rebound from a busy day. Soak in a hot tub, use ice, elevate, and give your body plenty of rest to prevent degeneration, illness, or injuries.
Preventing joint issues isn’t that hard. Pay close attention to your body and do what’s best each and every day. Use proper equipment and don’t forget to rest. Many injuries are preventable with some simple precautions and your body will be sure to thank you for taking the extra care.