Whether it presents as a throbbing ache, a burning sensation or as localised stiffness and tenderness, joint pain is one nasty business. So below we’ve got six tips to help you stay ahead of the suffering and to keep on movin’ on!
Tip #1: Pump it Baby
There are many benefits to building a strong body. But building our muscles to provide sufficient support to our joints is an important one.
Our musculoskeletal system consists of bones, joints and muscles. The skeletal muscles attach to the bones and are arranged in opposing groups around both the joints and the bones.
As we age we lose muscle mass, and we may lose it fast! Studies show that from the age of 30 you can look forward to losing as much as 3% to 5% per decade. As our muscle strength decreases and mass depletes, then so does the support around joints. This is when injuries and falls become commonplace and made worse if a weak core is thrown into the mix! Balanced workouts that include strength exercises are key here – like those that feature in ALL of the 12WBT programs ( not to mention the Lean & Strong powerhouse Program!!).
Tip # 2: Maintain a Healthy Weight Range
Put simply, your joints will be happiest in a strong and healthy body. Carrying excess weight increases wear and tear on the joints, therefore reducing their shelf life. In fact, research shows that with approximately every 450g of weight gained, a person puts four times more stress on the knees! It’s also worth noting that replacements (such as knee and hip) do not come cheaply!
Now for the good part!
Our 12WBT recipes can both sustain you AND help you lose weight – even in the absence of exercise. This is perfect for our injured members who are stuck on the cruel carousel of needing to lose weight because of joint pain, yet who cannot exercise because of that same painful joint. Nutrition accounts for about 80% of weight loss. So eating healthily and being mindful of portions will go a long way to getting you into a healthy weight range.
Tip #3: Choose workouts wisely
Got painful joints but you’re a hardcore HIIT junkie? Might be time to make friends with the pool, yoga mat, stationary bike or ergometer instead. You don’t have to leave a workout feeling a little green around the gills for it to be both effective and physically/mentally challenging. Our body loves to surprise us anyway!
Try these free workouts:
Tip #4: Eat to beat
As well as helping us manage our weight, a balanced, wholesome, and nutritious diet will also support a strong body and nourish the joints. Studies confirm that eating foods commonly part of the Mediterranean diet can do the following:
• Help arthritis by curbing inflammation
• Benefit your joints as well as your heart
• Lead to weight loss, which can lessen joint pain
Here are some key foods from the Mediterranean Diet that you can easily include in your diet for joint health;
- Oily Fish
- Nuts & Seeds
- Fruits & Veggies
- Olive Oil
- Whole Grains
All these and more is available to our members when they select a 12WBT Meal Plan, recommended to them based on their age, gender, fitness program and goals for their Round. Any questions? You can hit up our Nutrition Team consisting entirely of Accredited Practising Dietitians. You’re in good hands.
Tip #5: Don’t ignore the niggle!
Niggles are a sign from your body that you need to press ‘PAUSE’ on whatever you are doing. Niggles start small – almost politely – yet can lose their manners lightning-quick when tested. Read the signs and accept the reality, as frustrating as that may seem. There are lots of people trained specifically in these matters who know how to address joint pain and get you back to form ASAP. So invest in a diagnosis and your recovery and don’t be the hero. Not worth the pain.
Tip #6: Use It or Lose It
Pretty amazing how many things can you apply this mantra to, and it’ll still ring true! Joints are no different. Whether they’re a ball-and-socket fixture or a pivot joint, if you’re not keeping yourself reasonably mobile and supple, then these fascinating and complex body parts will start enforcing a lockdown of their own.
This may be as non-committal as standing up every 20 minutes. Or if your freedoms allow, trying low to no-impact exercises such as swimming, aqua-Jogging, yoga, pilates or cycling. Aerobic exercise can help with weight loss and has been shown to reduce joint swelling. So #JFDI (just freakin’ do it!) people and keep the wheels turning – it’s as simple as that!