Joint Health

This article focuses on how to keep these connections or as I like to call them, Relay Stations, functioning appropriately. There are many experts out there who tell you to take this supplement or are ready to do surgery, but taking a look back at the structure, capabilities and even limitations we see that there are rules set up in the human skeleton that must be obeyed in order to keep joints healthy for a lifetime. Violate these rules and you will be in the operating room quicker than you can say Glucosamine.
As my friend Tom Purvis puts it, “Arthritis is wear related…not age related.” Don’t believe that arthritis is a natural process of aging. If you take care of your body through proper nutrition and exercise, maintaining a healthy weight that your skeletal frame can tolerate, joint health and rejuvenation will be yours for a lifetime.
The leading cause of joint dysfunction is being overweight. Carrying around a ‘backpack’ of 30 or more pounds 24/7 puts considerably more stress upon joints forcing them to work harder and wear out sooner. No amount of MSM, Glucosamine, Fish Oil, or Chondroitin will make joint cartilage reappear.
Analyze your eating and exercise habits and make a change for the better.
There is also evidence that certain foods such as grains can keep the body in a state of inflammation leading to premature breakdown of articular surfaces.

Joints are in fact a lot more than just bone. Where these bones meet, there are tendons routing across and attaching for muscles to regulate and move the joint. We have ligaments that guide or limit motion like the ACL, or lateral and medial ligaments. In between, or at the ends of bone, we have cartilage, which is a slippery surface that reduces friction and provides a cushion. This is a very simplistic view of joint components but as you can see, we are dealing with many structures and a joint’s maintenance of integrity is due to many factors that must work together in a highly coordinated pattern to ensure that proper and efficient motion takes place. If there is even the slightest deviation from one of the components, degradation and pain will develop.

Here are some things that will ensure happy joints for a long time to come:

Lose Weight
As I mentioned above, carrying extra load around is torture not only for internal organs, but joints. Joints are meant to facilitate movement and if your body and limbs are carrying around too much meat, they are forced to work harder and will wear out sooner. Not only does being overweight jeopardize joint structure, but having too much muscle can as well. I know many former professional bodybuilders and everyday gym rats that have put on so much muscle that their bodies are in constant pain. This could be to the extra weight that they are carrying or the methods they used to get the muscle in the first place.

Maintaining the skeletons optimum functioning range of motion is imperative. I know so many people, young and old that acclimate to positions of comfort due to poor posture, work situations, or just plane laziness that their bodies begin to recognize this as normal. How many people do you see walking around with their palms facing backward? Shoulders hunched forward? Necks jutting forward? Foot arches collapsed? Can’t lift their arms straight overhead? These conditions are accumulations of adaptation and must be intervened upon before they become habit and reform the skeleton. Daily exercise incorporating appropriate resistance exercises to combat gravity, (which as you know only has one direction….down!), and constant postural awareness are imperative to keep joint range of motion full, fluid, and open.

Yes are bodies are mostly water, (60-70% or so, depending on who you listen to), and everyone tells your to drink more of it. But, do you know that most of the other goodies you drink like, coffee, tea, alcohol, soda, or even sweets that you eat actually seep water out of your system? Organs and bone need water, but the intricate structures of joints do as well. Water is responsible for so many chemical functions in the body and most people are in a constant state of dehydration.

Appropriate Nutrition
As already mentioned above, if you eat crap, you will gain weight and joints don’t like it. Counting calories is not the answer to nutrition. Learning what is nutritious and about portion sizes is. Diets and packaged foods are garbage. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, don’t eat it. (or put it on your body). If you truly want to succeed in managing your weight, visit with a doctor of natural medicine, buy books on food and nutrients, and eat as close to unprocessed as possible.
(…and read more of Bill’s articles to get tips!)

Correct Exercise Selection with Appropriate Mechanics
This is a huge area of study containing an immense body of knowledge. What exercises are best? What is good form? Who’s right? What’s the right order? How many reps? Sets?
I have been a professional in the exercise industry now for twelve years, crossed paths with many personal trainers, watched many personal trainers, taught many personal trainers, and been to hundreds of lectures, and I say this complete unbiased opinion: Seek out a fitness professional that has been through the RTS, (Resistance Training Specialist), Courses offered by Focus on Fitness. This is truly the only school of thought that actually investigates exercise mechanics, the science of Physics behind it, and the thought process of proper Progression. If you are lifting weight, using any type of resistance, or even swimming or running, (which are resistance training exercise too!), you have to know about the properties of force. Personal trainers that do not are kidding themselves and fooling their clients.
I have a few tips on exercises here on my site under Exercise Analysis, but this is a drop in the bucket as to what you would learn and absorb from and RTS Professional. Check to find someone near you. If there is no one near you and working out is that important to you, take a drive/flight and meet with someone for a couple of days. Your sessions will never be the same.

Just as important as the exercise is the rest and recuperation. Exercise is really just challenging or exerting the body beyond its resting state. Micro trauma actually occurs at the cellular level. Force and exertion on joint surfaces is necessary to maintain movement capabilities and stimulate growth but after the stimulus of exercise is induced, the body must rest, absorb nutrients, grow, and become stronger.

Activity Variety
Doing any activity repeatedly for any amount of time will not only lead to acclimation of the body limiting further success, but will lead to repetitive stress on contact surfaces and muscle imbalances. Although there are always forces and stress on the body no matter the type of exercise, changing from pounding, (like running), to swimming or rowing can change the type of force the body has to endure. These different challenges also ensure that the body is constantly challenged and stimulated.

As mentioned above, no amount of supplement can re-grow what you have lost due to abuse or neglect, or injury, but taking certain supplements, as research has shown, can increase the likelihood of aiding in the reparative process.

Muscle Symmetry and Balance
Don’t you wonder why the majority of ‘weightlifters’, whose favorite exercise is the bench press, are walking around with forward rotated shoulders and palms facing backward, (the missing link look), with no pecs to show for their effort? The reason is improper selection and rotation of exercises. What these Neanderthals are neglecting to recognize is that training the body with symmetry in mind, and especially the back muscles appropriately actually makes your pecs appear larger and fuller to their supportive nature of the spine. Training only the front of the body, (pushing muscles in gym lingo), leads to forward imbalanced posture.
Just because you can’t see it in the mirror does not mean it’s not important.

I think that it is awesome when I see a person well into their sixties with great posture. That whole thing that your Mom taught you about balancing a book on your head was really a good thing! Standing tall, head up, with shoulders back, glutes strong or as I call it, putting up a battle against gravity should be reinforced every day.

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