If you're not proactive about finding ways to strengthen your joints right now, you could be faced with many health issues involving your joints down the road! That includes arthritis, joint pain, osteoporosis, and decreased range of motion. You may be thinking that while you're young, you don't have to worry about these things because they're just a natural part of aging. In reality, the better you take care of your body now, the healthier and more active you'll be in the future. Here are some great ways to strengthen your joints that you should start today!
1. Strength Training
One of the best ways to strengthen your joints is to first build the muscles that support them. The action of movement begins in your brain when neurotransmitters send out signals to your muscles that they need to contract. Then the muscle contacts and the ligaments that join muscle to bone allow movement to happen! All of this happens in fractions of a second. Strength training, such as weight lifting, that builds lean muscle, will facilitate healthy joints by default through the support of strong muscles. Remember also that weight-bearing exercises actually build bone density until age 30 if proper form is being applied!
2. Full Range of Motion Movements
If you want your joints to be limber and pain free, you need to practice movements and stretches that are full range of motion. You can do simple to vigorous circular motions with your wrists, ankles, and shoulders, making sure to avoid anything that causes pain. Try flexing your ankles in and out while standing with your feet parallel to each other, gripping the floor with bare toes. This is an excellent exercise for strengthening your ankles.
3. Take Magnesium and Calcium
We all know that calcium is essential for building and maintaining bone health, but did you know that magnesium is just as vital, if not more so? Magnesium aids in calcium and vitamin D absorption, so if you're not getting enough, you're probably deficient in calcium as well. Magnesium also isn't stored in the body so it's needed every single day. It's found naturally in nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and other raw foods and meats, but can be taken as a supplement. According to an article written by Bart Walton, "magnesium plays a vital role in digestion, energy production, muscle contraction and relaxation, bone formation and cell division. In addition, magnesium is a key nutrient in the proper functioning of the heart, the kidneys, the adrenals and the entire nervous system." I would say it's quite the miracle nutrient!
Swimming is wonderful for cardiovascular activity- it's difficult but applies absolutely no impact on your joints. The water-based movements act as a cushion for your body and joints, leaving them injury free.
Cycling is another great activity that boosts your heart rate, burns a high number of calories, and yet doesn't impact your joints. The fluid motion of peddling is great for lubricating and strengthening your knee joints.
Stretching and flexibility are essential for moving gracefully, with ease, and without injury. Yoga and Pilates are two workout activities that strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility. Moving with ease and grace means less impact on your joints, fuller range of motion, and more energy placed on your actual muscles during movement. This is how our bodies are designed to move- strong muscles, limber joints, and graceful movements!
7. Practice Proper Balance
Learn how to balance on your tip toes by practicing linear movements while only on your toes. It's hard but it creates a more stable you by strengthening your ankle and knee joints. How often do you think about having strong ankles? It isn't until you run up stairs or begin jogging exercises and find yourself with an injury. Balancing movements also give you crazy strong calf muscles for more support. Just think, when you do fall, you'll be able to catch yourself because you've practiced your balancing technique! This will certainly come in handy when you're elderly and are prone to more episodes of imbalance.
The importance if physical health and how it affects every area of your life cannot be emphasized enough. The difference in your mood, how you feel, look, move, and how others perceive you is literally night and day! And your joints are the infrastructure of your body, so we need to keep them strong and healthy. What are some ways you've found that have helped you gain strength and mobility?