5 simple ways to protect your joints!

2nd October 2020 / Health

5 simple ways to protect your joints!

Emily Shannon

Many people believe that aging and troublesome joints go hand in hand… think again! Support your joints in the right ways and as the years tick by, you’ll thank your lucky stars that you made your joints a priority! 


We’ve got a few tried and tested tricks up our sleeve that are a sure-fire way to preserve and protect your joints that’ll help to keep pesky aches and pains at bay so you can do whatever it is that you love! Sound good? Keep reading! 

 

Exercise in the right way!


Spending hours honing in at the gym working on your cardio? Keeping fit, staying active and raising our heart rate has a profound effect on our health. An abundance of scientific studies link regular physical activity to a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers as well as being excellent for our mental wellbeing. As you’ve probably guessed we love keeping active here at Link Nutrition, but we often get asked whether certain activities do more harm than good when it comes to our joints! 


The truth is, we just need to be mindful. We need to consider our joints when it comes to the exercise that we choose to do. There are certain types of exercises that are kinder to our joints, so if you do struggle with troublesome joints or want to protect your long term joint health then why not ditch the running and opt for more low-impact aerobic exercises that still get your heart racing! Try swimming, water aerobics and cycling or why not give yoga and pilates a go? Yoga and pilates are designed to increase strength and flexibility which are key for supporting long term joint health. Try ashtanga or vinyasa yoga if you want to work up a sweat! Check out Nutritional Therapist and yoga teacher Libby Limon for some yoga inspo!  



Avoid smoking


Smoking is often associated with a number of health concerns, most commonly lung cancer, heart disease and strokes, so you may be wondering what impact smoking has on long term joint health. More and more research continues to emerge in this area, but the latest research has suggested that smoking increases the risk of developing joint concerns in later life. Findings from a 2014 study suggested that smoking could change how the pain signal is interpreted and processed in the brain, heightening potential joint pain. In addition to this, there is also growing evidence that smoking adversely affects the body’s ability to produce and grow new bone, which is essential for maintaining healthy, functioning joints, with long term smoking also causing cellular damage. So, in order to support your joint health in the long run, it’s best to avoid smoking! 


Manage your weight


If you are prone to painful joints, then managing your weight could be the key! There are two key reasons why managing your weight can help you when it comes to supporting long term joint health…

  • Excess weight adds additional pressure to joints! If you’re carrying excess weight and you begin to feel niggles in your joints when you’re walking or doing any exercise, then this could be the reason! The good news is, evidence suggests that once you’ve brought your weight back down to within a healthy range and you continue to look after your joints, you should begin to feel the results!
  • Carrying additional weight increases the inflammation levels within our body. Increased inflammation isn’t good when it comes to managing our long term joint health. Bringing your weight back within the healthy range will also reduce these pesky inflammatory markers - good news for your joints! 

It’s always a good idea to have a chat with your doctor or a qualified nutritionist before making any significant dietary changes. However, the best place to start is with a healthy balanced diet that includes plenty of colourful fruits and veggies, healthy fats, lean protein and wholegrains alongside regular low-impact exercise!

 

Don’t skip the warm up or cool down!


Trust us when we say that the warm up and cool down is just as, if not MORE important than the exercise itself! Yes you heard that right! We’re probably all guilty of rushing off before the cool down after our lunchtime workout class or to get to the front of the shower queue at the gym… Sound familiar? Well, our next top tip is to make sure that you ALWAYS take part. 


There are a number of reasons why ‘bookending’ your workout with a warm up and cool down are important, you should start with a warm up to ‘wake up’ your cardiovascular system, dilate your blood vessels and get the oxygen flowing ready for exercise. It helps to gently warm up muscles and joints, getting them ready to exercise, reducing the risk of injury. The cool down does the exact opposite, helping to gradually bring the body temperature down, helps the body dispose of any toxic material built up during your workout and helps to safeguard both muscle and joint health! 


Stay hydrated


Staying hydrated is another key way to preserve our joint health. Proper hydration helps your body eliminate the wastes and toxins that have the potential to build up in our body. It also helps the body lubricate your joints, which reduces joint pain and inflammation. Synovial fluid is a viscous solution found in our joints. It’s role is to reduce friction between cartilage synovial joints when we move, without this fluid movement would be painful! Water is a key component of synovial fluid, another important reason to stay hydrated!


Want to find out more the best ways to support your joint health? Check out our ‘Take care of your joints download’ which is jam-packed full of our recipes, top tips and the best nutrients to support your long-term joint health. Sound good? Head here to download yours now! If you’re struggling with pesky, troublesome joints and want to do something about it, then why not check out our blog which gives you 5 super easy, joint-loving exercises you can do whilst watching TV… yes, they’re that easy! Head to the blog here