Exercise & Joints Health

Exhaustive research and studies affirm that exercise is good for your joints

 

 

Joints are the connections between bones where they roll, glide, rotate or bend so that you can move flexibly. There are various types of joints. These are ball-and-socket joints such as those found at the hips and shoulders, hinge joints at our knees and elbows, pivot joints in our neck and ellipsoidal joints like in the wrists. Cartilage, synovium and synovial fluid cushion the joints. Though joints withstand impact commendably well, they are also susceptible to wear, tear and damage. The medical condition called arthritis causes joints swelling and create immense discomfort and pain. Couch potatoes, computer addicts and those who remain “glued” to their chairs are prime candidates for joint problems. Therefore keeping your joints healthy should be one of your priorities.

 

 

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Harvard Medical School has conducted rigorous studies on exercise in relation to improving joint health; as well as to dispel certain beliefs that exercise accelerates the onset of arthritis. Besides improving joint health, they also concurred that exercise has enormous health benefits towards reducing risks of heart attack and stroke plus accord protection against diabetes, obesity, high-blood pressure, osteoporosis & fractures, depression, insomnia, dementia, colon cancer, breast cancer and possibly prostate cancer.

As early as 1948, a detailed research involving over 5,000 people called “The Knees of Framingham” began to probe on exercise in relation to joint health and arthritis. The study followed through their generations on to 2005.  Results found no link between exercise and arthritis of the knee. Some research even suggests that aerobic exercise activities besides getting your heart rate up can also reduce joint swelling. Exercise can be safe for joints both in older and overweight folks. The Framingham study further found that people who performed the most vigorous weight-bearing exercise had the thickest and healthiest knee cartilage.

 Although jogging subjects the lower body to higher impact and stress than walking, exercise nevertheless was found to be friendly to joggers’ and walkers’ knees. However, well-made treadmills have sophisticated shock-absorbers which traceably reduce impact. Osteoarthritis starts when the joint cartilage begins to wear away and obesity is an independent risk factor for arthritis. In essence, cartilage does not have its own blood supply and relies on nutrients from joint fluid. Correspondingly, exercise compresses joints and force more nutrients and fluid into the cartilage. British researchers in 2005 evaluated 13 randomized clinical trials comparing walking, muscle-strengthening exercises; and conventional therapy without exercise in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. They discovered that walking and muscle-strengthening were safe and effective while reducing pain and disability.

Care for your joints by keeping them, your muscles, ligaments, and bones strong and stable. Here are some effective ways:

Less movement means more stiffness in your joints. So, do low impact exercise. This includes treadmills, crosstrainers, walking, swimming and cycling.  Watch your weight since more body weight means more stress on your joints and many overweight people have joint problems. Develop and strengthen your muscles and keep surrounding ligaments strong. Strengthen your abdominal or core muscles because stronger abs and back muscles immensely help with your balance – thus preventing falls that can injure your joints. Strong muscles support your joints but when you exercise, know your limits as excessive loads means excessive stress on your joints.

Good posture helps to protect your joints from your neck to your knees and helps guard your hip joints and back muscles. Be careful while lifting or carrying weighty objects and let your muscles (not your joints) take more load and do most of the work.

Protective wear is essential when you engage in high-risk and high-impact activities. Wear protective gear such as shoulder, knee, elbow, wrist & ankle pads and helmets. Ice your joints no longer than 20 minutes to relieve pain and swelling when necessary. And of course, a balanced healthy diet is all-important.

 

Consult a physician before you take up exercising.