Joints form the connection between bones. Most joints are mobile, allowing the bones to move, and allowing us to move. However, with damage or injury, they can be what slows us down and stiffens us up. Here are 5 tips on how to keep your joints healthy and you moving!
1. Get moving!
One of the best ways we can take care of our joints is to get moving. Exercise strengthens the muscles that support our joints protecting them against the risk of strain or injury. Dr. Laith Jazrawi, Chief of the Sports Medicine division at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, suggests nonimpact forms of exercise including pilates, yoga, moderate weight lifting and swimming, which firm up your muscles without jeopardizing your cartilage. Create your own personalized Yoga studio at home with a yoga mat from Well.ca.
2. Proper posture!
You want to maintain a neutral spine position to avoid abnormal stress on the muscles and joints, which can lead to muscular imbalances, injury and degeneration. To encourage this posture, have an ergonomic assessment at work and use a backrest support at your desk.
3. Maintain a healthy weight!
Carrying around extra pounds adds load to your joints increasing the risk of degeneration. Organize a group of family or friends that exercise together and swap healthy meal ideas.
4. Eat well!
Another way to promote healthy joints is by eating a well-balanced diet with less bad inflammatory foods. This means less processed and fried foods, which promote inflammation and pain. Instead, replace these bad foods with good wholesome foods such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and fish. These good foods help to decrease inflammation in our bodies and joints.
5. Proper Supplementation!
If you are unable to get essential nutrients from from diet alone, there are some supplements that can be taken to aid in joint health.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Decreases inflammation of the joints.
- Boswellic acid – Helps to maintain joint health and flexibility.
- Calcium – Helps to promote and reduce bone loss.
If you already suffer from arthritis pain, the following supplements have been shown to help manage symptoms.
- Turmeric – Reduced arthritis joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness related to arthritis.
- Glucosamine – Helps to ease joint pain in cases where degeneration has begun.
- Bromelain – Decreases arthritis joint pain and swelling, and increases mobility.
6. Listen to your body!
If you experience pain, seek care. Practitioners including Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists and Acupuncturists can help promote and maintain joint health.
*Please speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplements as they may interfere with medications and always consult with your health care provider before beginning any exercise program.
Dr. Crystal Draper is a Toronto-based chiropractor with a diverse and inclusive family-based practice. She has a special interest in chiropractic pregnancy care and working with mamas-to-be, infants and children.