It’s well known that that nutrients in certain foods can boost immunity, improve heart health, and promote well-being. However, did you know that nutrition can play a role in bone and joint health as well? Joints serve as an important function in the human body. Movement of the joints allows you to bend, reach, turn, and rotate. As an individual gets older, more sedentary, and gains weight, arthritic changes can set in causing joints to begin to degenerate, resulting in pain and discomfort through ones daily life.
The best way to build strength and stability of the joints and the surrounding ligaments, muscles, and bones is through a combination of exercise, healthy eating, and nutritional supplements.
Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your joints healthy and improve well-being. On the other hand, sedentary individuals are at a higher risk for joint pain. The less you move, the more stiff your joints will be, so it’s important to move around. “Getting up and moving” can be as simple as going for a brisk walk. If you work in an office, you can increase your mobility by talking on the phone while standing up or taking scheduled interval break periods throughout the day to stretch and move around.
The weight of your body is supported by your lower back, knees, and hips. Loss of excess body weight will help ease the strain on your joints. Adding resistance increases muscle strength around your joints and ligaments. It is very important to consult your physical therapist before beginning any resistance training program. You want to make sure you don’t overdo anything and hurt yourself.
Nutrition plays an important role in joint health. Eating a diet rich in nutrients contributes to bone strength. The consumption of diary and foods such as broccoli and kale facilitate calcium intake. If you can’t tolerate milk, ask your physician if calcium supplements are right for you.
Foods rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants may contribute to immunity and joint health. Eat plenty of colorful fruits like oranges, berries, and melons to take in an excellent supply of both nutrients. Salmon is an excellent source of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats have several benefits, and may boost joint health, heart health and decrease pain and swelling. Please note that these are general guidelines, and are not meant to replace or constitute the advice of a registered dietician or nutritional consultant.
So, what is the role of physical therapy in maintaining or improving the health of your joints? Your physical therapist is a licensed health care professional that can use a combination of diet and exercise in helping you regain your joint health. A well-designed, simple, yet progressive exercise plan will help strengthen muscles surrounding the joints and improve mobility. Although joint pain can limit your quality of life, your physical therapist will stand by your side and help you by designing simple, achievable goals and teaching you the right techniques to help you regain full function and resume the things you like doing.
If your joints hurt, physical therapy with us (along with healthy nutrition) may be exactly what your joints need.