When was the last time you said thank you to your joints? How often do you stop and think about the significant role your joints play in the quality of your day-to-day life? If you’re like most people, not often enough.
It’s not until our joints start acting up that we pay them much attention. But obviously, the more attention you give your joints now, the less likely you are to experience significant pain and inflammation.
How Exactly Do Our Joints Work?
You most likely know that a joint is where two or more bones come together. Joints can be rigid (such as the bones in your skull), or they can be movable like the ones in your shoulders, knees and hips. Many of the joints in your body have cartilage on the ends of the joints where the bones actually meet.
Healthy cartilage allows our bones to glide smoothly over one another and this fluid motion helps us to move easily. The cartilage also protects our bones by preventing them from rubbing together.
That being said, what can you do to protect and care for your all-important joints?
Coach Chase has put together a few things to help move you in that direction:
1) Strengthen surrounding muscles. Performing weight-bearing or resistance exercises will help stabilize joints and allow them to better handle stresses placed upon them during movement.
2) Low resistance cardio. Repetitive, lower impact movements (ie. biking, swimming, etc.) help keep your joints lubricated and nourished with proper blood flow. Motion is lotion!
3) Healthy nutrition. The less inflammatory your food choices are, the better it will reflect on your joint health. Particularly, for arthritic joints, it is highly recommended to avoid processed sugar and food whenever possible. Inversely, foods with anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce joint pain.
4) Stretching tight muscles surrounding a joint. Tight muscles can pull on your bones, putting them in an uncomfortable position for function and weight-bearing. Regular stretching maintains proper joint placement and helps maintain flexibility.