Do you get out of bed in the morning stiff, sore and almost needing a good massage? Chances are, your joints are probably talking to you and you should probably listen.
Joints occur anywhere in our body that two bones meet and allow for movement between those bones. Typical joints consist of bones covered in a cushion of cartilage and bathed in synovial fluid. The synovial fluid acts as a lubricant facilitating movement and decreasing friction. Discomfort in your joints is typically caused by over-exertion, and tends to occur more as we age. I personally know this to be true!
While running is a great way to stay in shape, it can be extremely hard on our joints especially when you consider all the surfaces that we run on……
- Grass is said to be the best surface to run on because it is easiest on the joints but because most large grass areas have uneven spots it can be dangerous for ankles and will tire out the muscles quicker.
- A track at a high school or college campus is an excellent place for speed work; those surfaces are giving but the curves make it hard on ankles, knees and hips.
- Treadmills are designed to be easy on the legs with their smooth surface and selection of speeds and inclines.
- Asphalt or more commonly, the street, is an even but unforgiving surface that puts less strain on the achilles tendon but still strains the joints.
- Running on the beach is one of my personal favorites and even although running on the beach is great for building leg strength, the softness of the sand means a higher risk of Achilles tendon injury. Also, though the sand is firmer at the water’s edge, the tilt of the surface puts uneven stresses on the body.
- Concrete, which is the most common surface to run on because it is the most available surface, is considered to be 10 times worse that asphalt on our joints.
So, you’re probably wondering then, “where do I run if all these surfaces are hard on my joints?” Well, that is a personal choice you will have to make for yourself because each person is different but because we are at the mercy of what surfaces we have available, it is better to focus on our actual joints than the surface we run on.
Joint health typically depends on the health of the cartilage surrounding the joints, and there are some specific things we should be doing to protect our joints such as doing a variety of exercises, building muscle, and losing weight if we need too.
Supplementing is a must, especially as we get older, to help support our joints, the muscles surrounding our joints and any pain that may occur. Here are three very important natural solutions for our joint health:
- Glucosamine hydrochloride: The cartilage in your joints is primarily made up of a nutrient called glucosamine. Taking glucosamine as a supplement aids in helping to maintain healthy joints.
- Boswellia serrata: Boswellia is an herb that has been used for over a thousand years to help maintain joint health. A specific extract of Boswellia called 3-O-Acetyl-11-keto-Beta-Boswellic Acid (AKBA) has been shown in a recent study to improve joint comfort in as few as five days.
- Omega 3s: The Mayo clinic gives Omega-3s an “A” rating: many studies report improvements in joint comfort with regular intake of fish oil supplements. Consume fish at least 2- times a week, or consider 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams a day of a good fish oil supplement.
Don’t take your joint heath for granted. Our joints have to last a lifetime and the health of our joints is closely related to our overall health. Join me in supporting them with healthy lifestyle choices and good nutrition.