Joints can get confusing. Ball and socket, pivot, hinge, saddle, gliding, condyloid…so many joints (360 to be exact) and so many movements they are involved in. The most important thing to know about joints is that they are essential for movement and they need a little extra TLC because of all the stress we put them under with physical activity.
Aging plays a major role in our joint health. As we age, the wear and tear of our joints can lead to arthritis, discomfort with movement, and decreased mobility. Our bodies will typically send signals of weakened joints by causing inflammation to joints. Inflammation is a natural response that our body makes when it is trying to heal or repair. Acute (small bouts) of inflammation isn’t necessarily bad. It is the natural way our body communicates to let us know that it needs some time to heal. However, constant inflammation can be detrimental to our bodies (especially our joints) and break down important tissues.
As mentioned before, joints crave a little extra TLC. A balanced diet, proper training regimen ( including rest + recovery ) and supplementation can help to maintain and care for joints.
A diet rich in antioxidants and fatty acids can help promote joint health and ward off inflammation. Vitamins A, C and E and selenium help to fight off free radicals (the bad stuff) that have a negative impact on our joints. Here are some foods that are rich in antioxidants and/or fatty acids that you can incorporate into your joint health regimen today:
- Salmon (Wild Caught)
- Turmeric (as a spice in food or taken in pill form)
Proper Training Regimen
Overtraining and overuse are two of the main culprits for chronic inflammation. Yes, physical activity is GREAT for our bodies, but even with the good stuff, it’s important to remember that moderation is key. Inflammation is the body’s way of telling us that we need to recover. While keeping your body moving is important to flush out toxins, our body still craves proper rest + recovery. Inflammation high but still want to get your movement in for the day? Try some of these non-weight bearing activities
- Cycling (outdoors or stationary)
- Hand Bike
- Mobility Work
The market for joint health supplements is wide open and many times overwhelming. Here is break down of key supplements and how they play a role in joint health:
An amino sugar that plays a key role in the synthesis of collagen, cartilage, bone, skin and joint-lubricating fluids. It also helps with elasticity of joint movement and function
There are 3 types of collagen:
Type I – Beneficial for hair, skin and nails
Type II – Binds to intestine and sends out a signal to stop the body from attacking healthy cartilage
Type II – Found in connective tissue and help to support soft tissue found in the liver, bone marrow and the lymphatic system.
Chondroitin’s key function is to block enzymes from breaking down cartilage. As a result it helps to reduce inflammation and protect cartilage from damage.
MSM has been linked to the reduction of arthritic joint pain. It helps to decrease activity-induced oxidation and decrease muscle damage and soreness.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Help block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Omega 3 Fatty Acids have been shown to reduce joint stiffness and tenderness
Astaxanthin is a unique fat-soluble nutrient that has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-regulating properties. It works directly at the muscle tissue site and it’s very beneficial for those who are very active.
Regardless if you consider yourself active or not, we need our joints! Next time you start to feel those aches and pains in your joints, remember these tips and never forget to keep giving your joints all the TLC.