Along with the inability to socialise after a night of red wine-drinking, a couple of grey hairs and a sudden desire to buy ‘comfortable shoes’, getting older brings with it achy joints and muscles. You may find you’ve started to groan when you sit down or that you stiffen in the cold. And that’s okay. It happens to the best of us. The important thing is that you take note and take care of your joints and ligaments, rather than dying your hair pink and pretending you aren’t getting older.
It’s particularly important if you exercise regularly or are prone to conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis. A joint is where two bones connect. This joining allows you to bend your knees, move your hips, arch your back, turn your head and wiggle your fingers. Smooth tissue called cartilage and synovium and a lubricant called synovial fluid cushion the joints, so bones aren’t in friction with each other. Age, injuries, too much weight, bad posture, plus wear and tear can damage the cartilage and lead to degeneration or arthritis.
Here’s how to keep your joints healthy:
Keep it balanced
In the same way a wheelbarrow overloaded with bricks might topple over, being overweight can put pressure on your joints, particularly your knees and back.
Low impact exercise like swimming and cycling will help keep your joints supple without jolting them too much. Try to get up and walk every hour or so and make sure you stretch often.
Building up some muscle strength will support your joints. Consult a physical trainer who can ensure you strengthen, not strain your muscles.
Watch your posture
Remember what granny used to say and sit up straight. This will protect your joints from your neck down to your ankles and lessen the load on your hips and your back. It will also make you feel much better. Also, remember to keep backpacks evenly weighted on both shoulders and to lift things carefully.
Fuel up on nutritious, calcium-rich foods like milk, yoghurt, broccoli and figs to maintain bone density, keep you balanced and steady, as well as reduce risk of injuries and joint damage. To make sure you’re getting enough calcium, take Releaf Calcium Complex (with Vitamin D3), a product of natural origin that may help with the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth and reduce the risk of osteoporosis when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.