Posted on 04/03/2019
Are you finding that your movement is becoming stiff or restricted? Or that your joints are beginning to make strange “noises” when you move? Well, your body has to deal a fair amount of wear and tear over the course of your life, but here are 8 tips that will help keep your joints young and supple!
Getting rid of excess weight really helps to reduce the stress placed on load bearing joints such as the back, hips and knees. To put things in perspective, pick up a 2kg bag of potatoes next time you’re at the fruit shop and notice how heavy it is!
Many of us are carrying extra body weight that places a lot of unnecessary stress on our body’s framework over the years. Make an effort to ditch those extra kilograms and you’ll be amazed at the difference to your body!
A diet high in whole grains, leafy green vegetables, fish (especially oily cold water fish rich in omega 3 fish oils!) and fruit, and low in saturated fats and sugar lowers your body’s inflammatory tendencies and helps protects the cells of your joints, arteries and other tissues from damage.
However, if you get this back to front (i.e. high in saturated fat and sugar and low in whole grains, greens, fish and fruit) you become more prone to inflammation and cellular damage, and the tissues of the body age prematurely!
Gentle, low impact, weight bearing exercise helps to strengthen muscles around weakened joints, promotes better bone density, and stimulates blood flow to help keep joint cartilage well nourished.
Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins within the body, which can offset feelings of depression or low mood, and help you to feel better overall.
Sitting has been described as “the new smoking”, because being too sedentary increases our body fat levels and is implicated in the changes that lead to many diseases, including diabetes and obesity.
Sitting put a lot of squashing pressure on the discs and joints of the spine, so if you have to sit try to maintain a good seated posture, altering your position as often as possible to “spread the workload” on your spinal joints, and try to avoid movements that carry a high risk of repetitive strain injury.
Non supportive sofas (and that’s most of them!), saggy mattresses, and deadly home postures (such as sitting up in bed to read) place a lot of unnecessary stress on the body.
Be mindful of these traps, and avoid them!
When getting ready to perform any physical activity pause for a second and think about how to use your strongest joints and muscles to protect and minimise the stress placed on smaller muscles and joints.
The most obvious example involves engaging your “abdominal core” and using your legs when lifting to take on some of the load that would otherwise be placed solely on your back. Other common examples include using backpacks instead of briefcases, or lifting lighter objects with both palms of your hands rather than just the fingers. The possibilities are endless, but the benefits mount up!
Most people tend to only make use of the mid-range of a joints movement capacity during activity, but this actually promotes joint stiffness and damage.
Using joints through their full range of movement promotes flexibility and spreads the workload of the joint across its entire weight bearing surface, rather than allowing joint degeneration to develop because one small area of the joint surface has been doing all the work, and this is why it’s so important to stay supple and flexible!
Gentle chiropractic adjustments help your nervous system to maintain optimal control of joint movement patterns, and also help to remove the restrictive tightness that gradually sets in when ligaments, muscles and other joint tissues are not functioning in a correct manner.
An appropriate chiropractic care program often helps to restore a sense of suppleness and freedom of movement to the body that can be beneficial to people of all ages and backgrounds, including athletes performing at every level of sport, and people who understand that they can have a significant influence over how well their body ages over time.
Symptoms such as pain often only arise after substantial joint damage has been allowed to set in.
Why wait for pain? If you focus on maintaining healthy joint function from a young age rather than trying to react to episodes of pain later in life you help yourself stay mobile, strong and healthy right throughout your life!
For more information chat to one of our practitioners or check out www.arthritiscare.org.uk.