We’ve been very fortunate to have Joan Rodriguez, from Ifitcenter.com write this article for the Nomad@50 community.
Joan has been personal trainer to Olympians and other elite athletes and he has also trained teams in the Spanish first división league, La liga.
If your mechanic was to tell you that your car’s shock absorbers have been damaged, you’d be very concerned.
After all, your car’s shock absorbers keep the tyres in permanent contact with the road, helping to provide optimum grip at all times but particularly, when cornering and braking.
If the shock absorbers are worn out, your vehicle’s ride and comfort would be compromised.
And you’d be driving a very dangerous vehicle.
Your joint cartilages are, in a way, your body’s shock absorbers.
Cartilages, the smooth, rubbery connective tissues at the end of your bones, cushion your joints and help them move smoothly and easily.
Like your car’s shock absorbers, your cartilages become worn out with a lifetime of walking, exercising, and moving, causing chronic inflammation in the joint and eventually wear away completely if untreated.
And as you wouldn’t let your car’s shock absorbers go unchecked, you should not go on without making sure your joint cartilages are as healthy as they can be.
Well, if you are like most people “of a certain age”, you are probably very concerned with your joints but barely ever give your cartilages a second thought, correct?
The thing is, you can’t deal with joint health without thinking about joint cartilage.
Because, as your body’s shock absorbers, cartilages:
Ø Protect the ends of your bones from grinding against each other,
Ø Act as a cushion for your joints,
Ø Help keep your joints moving and bending freely.
Joint cartilages are key to ensure your mobility.
So, how do you protect such an important part of your body from deteriorating and tearing away?
Follow these very simple steps:
1. Keep muscles and bones healthy
Cartilages, joints, muscles and bones are all part of the amazing structure that keeps you moving. So, make sure you keep the muscles and bones the attention they deserve and the nutrients they need to stay strong.
Vitamin D and calcium will keep your bones strong while strength exercises will keep your muscles in shape.
2. Keep tabs on your weight
Are you carrying a few extra pounds?
Perhaps this is the perfect time to bring them down and ensure your joints don’t carry more weight than necessary.
Every pound you lose is less pressure on your joints, so imagine what it would mean for your joint and cartilage health if you lost even just five pounds!
What a difference!
And you know what would help you?
Yes, you guessed it:
Exercise is one of the most effective ways you can maintain joint health.
Do you feel it’s a contradiction?
Not at all. But you need to choose the right kind of exercise. If you stick to low-impact activities, like swimming, walking, cycling, or even dancing, you’ll be doing your cartilages and joints a big favour!
Try to limit the number of high impact activities like running as these might jar your joints and cause joint cartilage deterioration at a much faster rate.
But above everything else, try to keep yourself constantly moving.
Yes, get those thirty minutes of exercise a day, by all means, but above all else, make sure you keep moving throughout the day.
The key isn’t getting your heart rate up but to prevent your body and joints from getting too stiff.
So, walk around during commercial breaks, stand up and stretch, do a few abdominal exercises… Whatever you prefer, but move.
4. Eat for joint health
A well-nourished cartilage is a healthy, properly functioning cartilage.
So, make sure you feed them with good sources of omega-3 fatty like salmon, avocados, nuts, flax seed and olive oil.
5. Help the process with supplements
Yes, ideally, you should be getting all the nutrients your joints need to be in top shape through your diet.
Unfortunately, that’s not always possible.
The range of supplements that specifically target joint cartilage health is quite extensive and you can trust them to nourish your joint cartilage while you sleep!
There you go.
Now you know why your cartilage health should matter as much as the health of your joints, muscles and bones.
Most importantly, you know exactly what to do to make sure those shock absorbers keep you moving for many more years!