Your weight-bearing joints – spine, hips and knees – take the load of your whole body weight. You can reduce the impact on them with walking on grass rather than pavements and wearing shoes with supportive, shock-absorbing insoles. This cuts the impact on your joints, protecting them from wear and tear while still keeping them mobile.
Mobility is all
Never forget that stiffness begets stiffness. Keeping your joints mobile is key to reducing stiffness and pain. That can be easier said than done if every movement hurts. Low-impact bending and stretching – including cycling (for knees) and stretching exercises at home – keep discomfort to a minimum but prevent seizing up.
Strength is balance!
Regular exercise helps more than just muscle strength and pain. It also helps improve balance, reducing the risk of falls.
There’s more to your joints than your joints
While osteoarthritis is common, there are lots of other causes of joint pain. Tough, non-stretchy bands called ligaments help keep your joints in place. Your knees are also supported by muscles which protect your joints from damage. You can’t strengthen your ligaments, but you can certainly give your muscles a helping hand with regular aerobic exercise – the kind that makes you mildly out of puff. This can be particularly helpful in avoiding knee problems. The knee carries the whole weight of your body and is exposed to all sorts of strains every time you move your legs. Isometric exercises – lifting your leg with your knee straight, to prevent any strain on the joint – can let you exercise the muscles even if you’ve been told to avoid too much bending under pressure.
Swimming – your joints will thank you for it
Because water supports your joints, keeping them weightless, swimming is the perfect way to keep your joints mobile and build up muscle strength, which protects your joints from strain. It doesn’t cut your risk of osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones, (for that you need weight-bearing exercise) but for every other aspect of health it ticks all the boxes!
Supplements – do they help?
Painazone capsules have quite a lot of scientific studies showing they may reduce inflammation in stiffness and joint tenderness in the inflammatory joint condition rheumatoid arthritis.
Gardening is great – if you take precautions
Getting out into the garden in the sunshine can lift your mood and boost your vitamin D levels, guarding against osteoporosis. It’s also great exercise and you can pick (and maybe eat) the healthy fruits of your labours! But many aches and pains are caused not by a single trauma but by repeated minor strains. To protect your joints:
- Get up and stretch several times an hour if you’re weeding
- Use a cushion or wear knee protectors if you’re weeding on your knees, to avoid housemaid’s or clergyman’s knee
- Lift garden waste and other loads with knees bent and back slightly flexed but never twisting. Take more trips with small loads rather than straining your back with heavy loads
- Think about how to protect your back when you get back to work after the Easter break. A large proportion of people suffering from back pain have their problems brought on, or made worse by, work-related issues.