Are Your Joints as Fit as You Are?

Even some of the most physically fit people can suffer from joint pain.  When athletes go down in competition, it is often holding a knee, ankle or elbow.  This is indicative of just how fragile joints can be- even for some of the most physically fit people on the planet!

Many types of injuries or medical conditions can cause joint pain. No matter what the cause may be, joint pain can affect our daily activities.  If you are a person who enjoys exercise but suffers from joint pain, there are some simple steps to take to help you maintain joints that are just as healthy and fit as you are.

Fit and Healthy Joints

Stretch

 Always take time to stretch, not only before exercising but before AND after too.  Joints are like any other part of the body, it takes them a little bit of time to warm up to peak performance.  Stretching also boosts circulation, and increases body warmth which makes every muscle, ligament and tendon less likely to strain or tear.

Maintain proper nutrition

If you are worried about long-term joint health (even if you aren’t an athlete) then it is important to begin with a solid base of good nutrition.  Before and during exercise make sure you are getting some good carbohydrates into your system like those from fruit, vegetables and whole grains.  Taking a vitamin supplement rich in nutrients like calcium and vitamin C will also improve bone health, and thereby joint health.

It has also been shown in recent studies that Omega 3 Fatty Acids are quite helpful in improving joint inflammation, and can be found in fresh natural seafood or in supplements from your local health food store.

Drink water

Stay hydrated to improve muscle and joint function! Water is the lubricant for muscles and joints.  Water keeps the muscles working properly. Water also cushions our joints. In order to have optimum muscle function in our bodies, we need to maintain the right water balance in our musculature. Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water every day is always a good habit. Drink more if you do activities that make you sweat like working out and exercise.

Use proper footwear

According to heelpainresource.com the type of footwear you use affects every joint in the body.  Believe it or not the wrong choice of shoe can jar every joint in the body from the toes to the ankle, the knee, the hips, the spine and even the neck and shoulder joints.  Start by heading to a sporting goods store and getting a salesperson to help you make the correct choice of shoe.

If you are running long distances, for example, the foot will need a different type of support than if you are generally participating in aerobics or weightlifting.  If you are cross-training and exercising heavily, it may be worth considering more than one athletic shoe.  Always replace athletic footwear as necessary- at least once a year for a person exercising on average 3 to 4 times per week.

Use braces where necessary

Local pharmacies often carry an array of simply, stretchable and reusable braces for ankles, knees, wrists, etc.  If you are feeling a bit of regular pain it is always a good idea to reinforce the joint with a brace.  Of course, if this pain continues for more than a few exercise sessions, or the pain could be described as ‘acute’ it is very important to seek medical attention immediately.

Rest

After you exercise, always take time to rest.  This stage is just as important to fitness, if not more, than the exertion itself.  This is what allows the body to strengthen itself and heal in preparation for more health and fitness!

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