Joint Health posted on June 27, 2010 Share this Post Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Well, we’ve made it to summer…FINALLY! Now is the time to head outdoors and hit the pool, the beach, play our favorite sports, garden, work in the lawn and generally wear ourselves out. Remember back in the good old days when you could play outside and exercise all day long without any issues? It seemed like we could spend hours running, riding bikes, swimming, playing ball, gardening, etc… all pain free. I can remember thinking I was Superman; there was nothing I couldn’t do. As kids growing up in Pittsburgh, we would play whiffle ball in my friends back yard from sunrise until sunset. The Day Stiffness and Aches & Pains Started Then one day, stiffness and aches & pains started to set in, sometimes lasting for several days. You know the feeling, you begin to notice the snapping and popping in the joints, and a general achiness in the morning when you wake up. What happened? Well, welcome to the world of aging joints. As much as we do not want to admit it, the fact remains that as we age, our joints can no longer perform the way they did when we were 20. With age, your joints lose elasticity and flexibility, cartilage wears down, and inflammation builds up in your body from stress and too many pro-inflammatory foods such as junk food and fast food. Consider the weight your joints are subjected to and the beating they take just going through the activities of daily living. As if that weren’t enough, poorly aligned bones, weak muscles, and even simple repetitive use produce even greater stress on joints. It’s no wonder joint health has become so important. Joint pain is listed as one of the most common of all physical complaints, affecting millions of Americans each year and often making the simplest daily activities more difficult to manage. There Is Good News But the good news is you can maintain joints that are strong and easy to move without too much work. What Helps? Let’s start with your diet. Diet is a powerful tool for overall health, and joint health is no exception. A well-rounded diet consisting of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fat, fiber and vitamins and minerals is what the human body was designed for, and it functions best when it receives the proper fuel. And following our Anti-Inflammatory Dietary Guidelines is helpful as well. Now, lets move on to your exercise plan. Right now many of you suffering from joint issues are probably saying “are you nuts, exercise with the pain I have?” So let’s put this into perspective, a flexible, strong joint is going to be a more stable one. Range of motion exercises can help maintain normal joint function by increasing joint flexibility and range. While strong muscles surrounding a joint can act as protection, easing the load placed on the damaged cartilage, helping to stop further damage. The purpose of the exercises should be to provide joint pain relief and improve range of motion, not cause debilitating pain. Always consult with a professional when designing an exercise program to make sure you’re safe from injury. Exercise in itself is something we all need to do and contrary to what may seem logical, exercise can actually help to relieve pain and increase mobility. Helpful Supplements Lastly, let’s take a look at your supplementation. There are several supplements that have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with joint pain. Omega-3’s The first is Omega-3 Fish Oil, which research has shown actually depresses the production of inflammatory agents. In fact, fish oil has been so effective, that some studies have shown that it can relieve pain symptoms even in cases of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a serious autoimmune condition that can affect joints and soft tissues throughout the entire body. A recent Australian study showed that fish oil reduced the use of NSAID’s by 75% in RA patients and reduced inflammation-causing chemicals by up to 41%. Guocosamine and Chondroitin Another very effective combination is Glucosamine and Chondroitin, especially the quality found in our very own Joint Essentials. These supplements play a role in regenerating lost cartilage and have been shown to repair existing cartilage. Glucosamine stimulates the manufacture of substances necessary for proper joint function, and is also responsible for stimulating joint repair. Chondroitin helps create a rejuvenating effect on cells and tissues, and assists in joint mobility and range of motion. Whereas your joint tissues naturally contain both glucosamine and chondroitin, the natural production of chondroitin declines with age, and it can also be disrupted by stress or injury. So adding the supplements is an important step to your overall joint health. In Summary Taking the right nutrients is crucial to joint health. Whether you’re constantly feeling stiff and achy, or suffering from occasional discomfort because you overdo it. Don’t let joint pain DERAIL you, take the right precautionary steps and get outside and take advantage of the summer weather and all of your favorite activities.