If you want to bend and move with ease in your old age, then you must care for your joints today.
Joints are what make all movement possible — from walking to dancing and getting out of bed. Although there is no definitive answer on exactly how many joints we have in the human body, it’s safe to say, there’s a lot.
As an adult, most of you have 206 bones in your body with about 250-350 joints. (I say “most” because for me — I have 2 extra bones… :/ )
What is a joint?
Simply stated, a joint is where two bones meet regardless of whether it’s movable. There are different types of joints: bony joints, fibrous joints, cartilaginous joints, and synovial joints.
This post is about synovial joints and the synovial fluid within the joint.
What is a synovial joint?
A synovial joint is two bones meeting, encased in a fibrous capsule, separated by a film of synovial fluid. This fluid, which is stored in the joint cavity helps bones move freely within the joint capsule. Examples of synovial joints are the jaw, elbow, hip, fingers, and knee joints.
Synovial joints are complex, depending on their function they may have other characteristics such as cartilage pads, articular discs, and bursa sacs. For example, in the knee-joint there are menisci, cartilage pads that “help absorb shock and pressure, guide the moving bones across each other, reduce the chance of dislocation, and distribute force across the entire joint instead of just a few points of contact.” (Anatomy & Physiology, Saladin) Nonetheless, all synovial joints have synovial fluid.
What is synovial fluid?
“Synovial fluid is a lubricant rich in albumin and hyaluronic acid. It nourishes the joint cartilages and removes their wastes, and it contains phagocytes that clean up tissue debris resulting from cartilage wear and tear.” (Anatomy & Physiology, Saladin)
Think of synovial fluid as like the WD40 of your body — it keeps you lubricated so you can move with ease and be friction free.
How can we support our synovial joints and synovial fluid so that they continue to do their job of helping us be mobile and injury protected for a long time to come?
We must exercise.
More importantly, there is a formula — a protocol of sorts — to promote the health of synovial joints and synovial fluid and here it is:
1. Warm-up before exercise
Before vigorous activity warm-up because synovial fluid becomes thinner and more easily absorbed by the articular cartilage thus helping to protect the joint from undue wear and tear.
2. Go 60-85% of your max intensity
Do medium to high repetition of certain exercises such as squats and push-ups because repetitive compression of the joints during exercise is important to its nutrition and waste removal. Without exercise, joints will deteriorate from lack of nutrition, oxygenation, and waste removal.
But, if you max out — go 90-100% of your strength — which means you would only be doing 1-3-6 repetitions of a certain exercise, you may be putting your joints in harms way by over-loading and risking injury.
3. Do lift weights
Weight lifting helps to build bone mass and strengthens the muscles around the joint helping in injury prevention.
4. Add instability challenges to your workout
Do exercises that challenge your balance to help build joint stability. Strengthen your secondary “smaller” muscles a long with your primary “larger” muscles to promote stability and injury prevention.
Moves such as the single leg touch-down improve the stabilizing muscles around the knee which help to protect the joint.
5. Do self-myofascial release (SMR)
Relieve tension in the muscles around your joints to keep them pain-free, protected against injury, and support range of motion. SMR is a technique where you use a massage ball or foam roller to relieve pain and tightness in the fascia and muscle tissues.
6. Stretch and stay mobile
Stretch your muscles and move often in different directions to maintain joint flexibility and mobility. The adage of “you lose what you don’t use” is absolutely true in this scenario. Body flexibility and agility lessens if they are not utilized and nurtured.
7. Eat foods that support joint health
Consume foods that are anti-inflammatory and provide the necessary nutrients such as chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, calcium, and Vitamin D to name a few for joint health.
Tweet it like you mean it!The freedom to move at every age starts with healthy joints. I like to move it, move it! Click To Tweet
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Top 6 originally on InspireHappy.com