Joint pain can be caused by an injury, infection (caused by a virus) or linked to chronic conditions like arthritis. In order to avoid joint pain all together, or to lessen your chances of ever experiencing joint pain, there are many options available including joint-friendly exercises, foods that ease joint pain and other remedies to help you live a functional and joint-pain-free lifestyle.
Joint Friendly Exercises
Rigorous exercise can place a lot of stress on your bones and muscles – which are supported by your joints. Although joints are designed to cope with the stress of your body’s movements and weight, we often neglect to care for them as we would a sore muscle. When exercising, joint pain can be caused by improper form, high impact activities or not enough mobility.
In order to stay active long term as you age, you should try incorporating low impact exercises into your daily work out routine. Low impact exercises do not comprise calorie burning. In fact, health professionals state that you should switch up your work out routine with a mix of exercises — both high intensity and low intensity — to avoid weight-loss plateaus. Such low impact exercises include: walking, swimming, cycling, using a rowing machine, and strength training exercises like squats and lunges.
Foods to Ease Pain
Food is fuel for your body and this includes your joints. To strengthen your bones and boost your immunity system, you should make sure to include foods high in vitamins and omega-rich fatty acids into your diet.
Foods that are high in antioxidants and vitamins can help fight off harmful free radicals, like diseases, and prevent cell and tissue damage. The major vitamins that can help relieve or postpone join discomfort include: Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E and Selenium. A simple way to remember these vitamins is ACES. Foods that include ACES are: raspberries, strawberries, papaya, tomatoes, grapefruit, bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, brussels sprouts, kale, kiwi, avocado, sunflower seeds, and pineapple to new a few.
Omega-3 fatty acids help the function of cell receptors in membranes in the body. The body cannot naturally produce these fats, but must obtain them from food. Due to their cold, deep blue water environments, cold-water fish provide the richest source of long-chain omega 3-fatty acids. Not only do these cold-water fish provide cardiovascular benefits, but they also reduce inflammation and aches in joints. Great sources of cold-water fish include: Atlantic mackerel, cod, haddock, herring, mahi-mahi, salmon, anchovies, pollock, trout, whitefish, canned light tuna and sardines.
Like diet and exercise, resting, stretching, and other treatments like ice therapy, and massage are also important tactics for achieving strong joint health. Being motivated to exercise everyday is great, but our bodies need rest and relaxation to allow your body to absorb the benefits of all your hard work. Rest will help restore your energy between exercises and will give your joints and muscles a break from any strenuous movements.
Other more hands-on therapies like cryotherpy (ice therapy) and heat therapy help increase blood flow by reducing tissue swelling and easing the pressure on joints. Try applying an ice pack on sore areas for a period of 15 minutes over the course of a few days until the pain or soreness is relieved. Or, indulge in a warm bath to help release the pressure on the joints. As an added bonus, add Epsom salt to the bath for more detoxification capabilities. Lastly, a massage is a great way to relieve joint pain in your hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, and hands. Like cryotherpy, massage stimulates blood flow, which pumps blood through your veins and supplies your cells with oxygen, nutrients and flushes out toxins.
The best ways to avoid any risks of joint pain is to be conscious about how you eat, exercise and recover from your workouts. By incorporating low impact exercises into your workout routine, eating foods high in vitamins ACE, Selenium, and omega 3-fatty acids, and resting or nurturing your joints, you will be well on your way to avoiding a future with joint pain.