Chances are, you’ve experienced a few sore, creaky, or downright painful knees or other joints once or twice in your life. No matter what your age. But if you’re stepping up a bit in years, it may feel like your joints are becoming even more creaky every year.
Why does this happen, and what can you do to improve your joint health as you age? Before you panic and assume the worst, there are a few natural remedies you can try that have been shown to be surprisingly effective. (Though, of course, we always recommend seeking the advice of your own healthcare professional and following his/her advice!)
Why Do Joints Break Down as You Age?
Joints break down as we age due to a variety of factors. Some of these factors include weight, diet, occupation, and daily activities as well as general health.
Being overweight is not helpful as the extra weight can put too much stress on the joints. Overuse, which often occurs with folks who have physical jobs, is another issue that can cause joints to become painful. Understandably, people with more physical jobs may experience joint issues sooner than people who work at a desk and aren’t required to do continuous physical labor, thus repetitively overusing joints over the long term. Finally, your overall health can contribute to joint issues, especially if you’re prone to inflammation, eat a shoddy diet, or have bad habits like smoking or excessive alcohol use.
Additionally, you may even have a medical condition, injury, or arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative condition that affects the joints as we age and the cartilage gets worn away over time. (Again, please seek the advice of your own healthcare professional to rule out any underlying health concerns.)
What types of issues do people experience with aging and taxed joints?
You may not be able to completely avoid all joint pain, but there are some things you can do to help slow down the process, reduce the uncomfortable effects and better your joint health.
3 Ways to Boost Your Joint Health as You Age
Here’s the great news: you don’t have to settle for stiff, achy joints! You absolutely can do something about it. There are several ways to help improve your joint health. First, eat nutritious foods that support healthy, strong joints. Second, add high-quality joint-supportive supplements to your daily lineup to help keep your joints lubricated and supple. Third, strengthen and stretch the muscles and ligaments around your joints, so they have a natural support system.
1) Foods for Healthy Joints
Luckily, you can improve your joint health by eating the right foods. Healthy, nutritious foods can help your joints feel their best.
It’s important to add anti-inflammatory food choices to your regular nutrition plan. When you take in processed foods, too much sugar, alcohol and artificial sweeteners, your tissues can become inflamed. These toxins can cause a constant low level of inflammation throughout your body, and this affects your joint health and comfort, as well as your overall health and immune system.
Some natural food sources you can add to your diet to support better joint health include:
- Foods high in calcium with Vitamin D for absorption
- Dark leafy greens
- Cruciferous veggies (like broccoli)
- Raw nuts
2) Supplements that May Help Support Healthy Joints
In addition to the above super healthy foods in your diet, a number of supplements have been shown to help joint health. Here are some to consider including in your supplement lineup.
Hyaluronic acid—to help provide lubrication throughout the body, including the joints. A good source of hyaluronic acid, as well as some additional joint-friendly ingredients, can be found in BioTRUST’s Joint 33X.
Collagen—the most abundant protein in our bodies, which provides the structure in connective tissue. Adding either the supplemental form or foods high in collagen to your lineup may help keep your tissues more elastic, so they move smoothly. One good source of collagen is bone broth. When it comes to supplements, not all collagen is created equally. One very special type of collagen called undenatured type II collagen, or UC-II® for short, has been shown in multiple randomized controlled trials to significantly improves joint comfort, flexibility, and mobility. Along with a patented, research-backed superior form of Hyaluronic Acid, you can find this joint-nourishing ingredient in Joint 33X.
What about popular joint health supplements glucosamine and chondroitin? Great question! A series of head-to-head research studies comparing UC-II to glucosamine and chondroitin definitively showed that supplementation with UC-II was substantially more effective at reducing joint discomfort and improving overall joint function. So, if you’ve ever tried glucosamine and chondroitin and been unimpressed with your results, it may be time to the more effective, research-backed UC-II, which you can find in Joint 33X.
3) Exercises to Strengthen Joints and Prevent Injury
Exercise is good for the joints. From weight lifting to stretching to some forms of cardiovascular exercise—all help strengthen joints. Adding weight-bearing exercises to your routine will help build strong muscles around your joints. The muscles and ligaments (connective tissues connecting bones and joints) surrounding your joints will be challenged by your workout, and as a result become stronger.
Which exercises should you start with? Full body workouts, which include movements that engage every muscle group, are a great way to go. Here are a few exercises to try:
• Walking Lunges—these will help strengthen your knees, hips, and ankles. Stand with your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg and bend at the knees until both legs are bent at a 90-degree angle and your front knee is directly over your ankle and your back knee is directly below your hips. Pause and push off with your rear leg to return to the standing position. Repeat on the left side (that’s one repetition). Continue for ten reps on each side.
• Knee Pushups—these work the entire upper body, including the arms, shoulders, and core. With your knees on the floor, place your hands on the ground about shoulder-width apart, and keep your back body (shoulders through hamstrings) in a straight line. Slowly lower your upper body by bending at the elbows until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Keeping your upper body in a straight line, push back up to starting position. Repeat for 10 – 15 repetitions.
Stretching and yoga also provide strength and gentle lengthening of your muscles and ligaments and can help keep your joints limber. Here are some stretches to get you started:
• Leg stretches—these are helpful for keeping knees and hips flexible and lubricated. Start by stretching the front of your leg, known as the quadriceps muscle. While standing and supporting yourself, bend your right leg at the knee, reach behind you and grab your ankle. Gently pull your foot toward your butt as you feel the stretch in the front of your leg. Then place both feet flat on the ground and bend over at your hips, keeping your back elongated, and reach down toward your feet, with a slight bend in your knees, until you feel the stretch in the back of your legs, rear, and lower back.
• Shoulder stretch—while standing, lift your right arm until it is parallel with the floor and bring it across your body and in front of your chest. With your right hand, grasp your upper arm above the elbow and gently push your straight arm into and across your body for a full stretch. Hold for a count of five and release. Repeat on the opposite side.
Make sure to mix up your workouts, so you’re not always doing the same thing. Vary your modes of cardio, too, to prevent repetitive movements that could strain your joints.
Combing nutritious foods, helpful supplements, proper exercise, and stretching, coupled with some simple lifestyle changes, will help your joint health at every age.