As people get older, their bones and muscles lose mass. And by older, we don’t really mean reaching the age of 70 or 80. For example, your body’s production and synthesis of collagen, a protein responsible for keeping your joint cartilage strong, gradually decreases after you turn 20. That is soon, right?
However, it doesn’t mean that all is lost, and you should make peace with worsened mobility. On the contrary – it is precisely the best time to start paying more attention and do everything in your power to keep your joints healthy and strong. Luckily, there is a wide range of strengthening exercises, diet tips, supplements, and other things you can implement into your life in order to protect your joints, which will allow you to avoid joint pain and mobility problems.
And this is exactly the topic we are covering in the article below. Keep reading to learn how to strengthen your joints, avoid pain, and preserve a satisfying range of motion.
Collagen is a whole family of proteins that support the strength of connective tissues. It plays a vital role, being a glue that keeps your joints together, allowing them to move without causing pain. Therefore, when its production decreases, you may be experiencing discomfort, especially while exercising. As collagen and joint health specialists from Primalharvest.com say, there are two ways to deal with the collagen shortage that really work best when combined: introducing collagen-rich ingredients into your diet (e.g., fish, lean meat, bone broth) and taking the right collagen supplements.
● Vitamin C
Vitamin C is not only incredibly helpful when it comes to boosting your immune system – it also is crucial for making collagen. So, consult with your doctor to see if you need to supplement it apart from eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as citruses, broccoli, or potatoes.
● Fatty Acids
The Omega-3 fatty acids significantly contribute to regulating your body’s inflammatory responses – when these responses are healthy, it lowers the risk of experiencing problems with, for example, circulation and joints. These fatty acids can be found in fish and other seafood, nuts, seeds, or plant oils.
● Vitamin D and Calcium
There is no healthy bone without the right vitamin D and calcium levels. Vitamin D is required to absorb calcium properly – you get it through sun exposure, so it might be time for supplements during autumn and winter (or even the whole year round if you live in a non-sunny climate). Low calcium leads to worsened bone density and fracture risks. Top products that can provide you with calcium are dairy, anything made with fortified flour, or green leafy vegetables.
Water makes up a significant part of the human body. Therefore, proper hydration is essential for keeping it in good health, and having all the processes happen smoothly. It is especially important to drink water while exercising – hydration allows you to exercise longer before your muscles get tired, water lubricates your joints, reducing the risk of injury, and prevents muscle cramps.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise Properly
You may implement all the other tips, but they won’t do much good if you don’t get enough exercise. It simply isn’t possible to keep your joints healthy and strong if you don’t move them – they will become stiff and delicate, plus, the muscles will weaken as well.
● Body Weight Control
Exercises will help you maintain the proper body weight, which will take some stress off your hips, knees, and ankles. The best bodyweight control workout is cardio, which, apart from burning calories, lubricates joints, improves circulation, and strengthens the muscles.
● Strengthen Your Muscles
Muscle strength is incredibly important to joint health, especially muscles around joints in your legs – they are literally carrying all the weight, and if they are weak, there is more pressure on joints. So, try including several resistance exercises, such as squats or lunges, into your workout routine.
● Strengthen Your Core
Your core and lower back need to be strong for you to keep the right posture. When your back suffers, you put more stress on the wrong bones and muscles, disrupting the whole weight balance and risking overexerting the wrong parts. Core and back exercises include pushups, curl-ups, or side planks.
● Avoid Injuries
If you already experience joint pain or are recovering from joint surgery, it is vital to consult your workout plan with a specialist to avoid making things worse. For example, if you have any joint issues, you need to be extremely careful with cardio exercises and sports – in this case, you should go for low-impact activities, such as biking or aerobic.
● Warm Up and Stretch
A good warm-up (around 5 minutes is enough) and stretching to cool down after each workout are also essential for avoiding joint injury. When you get older, your muscles become less flexible, hence, more prone to injuries. If you start an intense workout with cold muscles, you actually put more pressure on your joints. Then, once you’re done exercising for the day, stretch each muscle several times for 30-60 seconds.
● Get the Right Equipment
Last but not least, depending on your workout plan, you may need the proper equipment. Shoes are among the most important things you need to protect your knees, ankles, and hips from getting hurt. Even if you don’t have problems with your knee or a hip right now, you might not know that you gradually put stress on a particular joint, risking issues later in life.
Here’s the list of activities recommended for strengthening your joints:
- stretches and flexibility exercises
Moreover, there are some sports you should rather avoid, especially if you already have some problems with your joint health, and these include basketball, rugby or tennis. You shouldn’t be practicing any sports that involve running at high speeds, sudden directional changes, or jumping too much.
Take a Holistic Approach
When it comes to health, it is crucial to treat your body as a whole – even the smallest problem may disrupt your functioning. Therefore, if you want to strengthen your joints, you need to think broader and consider everything that influences you.
So, stay hydrated and follow the right diet. Make sure everything is in order – don’t neglect regular blood tests and consultations with your doctor. If you have to supplement any vitamins or minerals, be sure to choose the right product – talk to a specialist and research different brands. Then, ensure you get enough exercise and that your workout plan suits your individual needs, health issues, and preferences.
Remember that it is not that difficult to overdo it, and bear in mind that your body also needs its well-deserved rest. Introduce low-impact exercises if there’s a need, and stay connected to your body – once you learn how to listen to yourself, you will always know what to do.