Health is wealth at any age. However, as the years go by, health issues seemingly come out of the woodwork one by one, including declining joint health. We’d like to help out, so in this blog post, we’ll share our research-backed tips on how to keep your joints healthy as you age.
What are joints? And how many types of joints are there?
Joints form the connection between bones, allowing us to bend, stretch, and move. Most of us probably take joint movement for granted. But without joints, we would be immobile and somewhat akin to a statue. Once you start feeling some pain though, it’s hard to forget because it can be super painful (like 10 out of 10 on the pain scale)!
There are 3 types of joints (1):
- Movable joints (diarthrosis) allow for a wide range of motion, e.g. open and close, forwards, backwards, sideways, etc. Some examples are knees, elbows, and shoulders.
- Partly movable joints (amphiarthrosis) connect bones more tightly than diarthrosis and allow only a limited range of motion. Examples are the spinal column and the joints in our rib cage.
- Immovable joints (synarthrosis) do not allow any movement at all. An example would be the joints in our skull bones (also known as sutures).
The exact number of joints varies from person to person. But the number may range between 250 and 350 joints (2).
5 tips on how to keep joints healthy as you age
Approximately 350 million people worldwide have arthritis and other joint diseases (3). Medication is available, but ideally, we want to prevent the problem from happening in the first place. Here are 5 tips to keep your joints healthy as you age:
1) Eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods
Eating foods that fight inflammation is an important piece of the long-term joint health puzzle. While inflammation is an important immune system function, prolonged inflammation in joints can be harmful. An example would be rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the joints (3).
Fortunately, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can prevent and slow down the progression of inflammatory joint disease. Moreover, it can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which helps reduce inflammation too (4).
Another significant benefit of eating anti-inflammatory foods is insulin sensitivity. This leads to improved blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes (5).
Here are examples of anti-inflammatory foods you should consume more of:
2) Take a high-quality Glucosamine supplement
Glucosamine is one of the most popular joint supplements today – for good reasons! Glucosamine not only relieves knee pain in osteoarthritis patients, but it also helps preserve the structure of the joint (6).
There are literally hundreds of brands selling Glucosamine supplements. So, which one’s the best?
Well, we’re not going to mince words here. We believe our Intelligent Labs Glucosamine is the best in the market! Here’s why:
Every serving contains a triple strength 1500mg dose of Glucosamine. Also, our unique formula gives your body needed compounds to reduce pain, rebuild joints, and increase movement.
In addition to Glucosamine, it also contains 7 other ingredients known for their joint healing and anti-inflammatory benefits. These are:
- Chondroitin – one of the building blocks of cartilage, chondroitin has notable anti-inflammatory activity that may help preserve cartilage as well as improve osteoarthritis symptoms (7).
- Boswellia – a resin herbal extract that is considered a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and analgesic (8).
- Turmeric – this popular spice has long been known for its anti-inflammatory benefits especially in Ayuverdic medicine (9).
- Quercetin – found in many fruits and veggies, this flavonoid also has clinically proven anti-inflammatory properties (10).
- Methionine – animal studies show that this amino acid may also have anti-inflammatory effects (11).
- MSM or Methylsulfonylmethane – one study showed that combining Glucosamine with MSM relieves pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis patients (12).
- Bromelain – last but not least, this pineapple-derived enzyme offers many health benefits, including relieving osteoarthritis and joint pain (13).
3) Stay active so your joints stay healthy as you age
This might sound counterproductive, but yes, staying active and moving around can help keep your joints healthy! The more you move and exercise, the less stiffness there is in your joints and the less prone it would be to injury (14).
If you’re still in your “prime” and have no problems doing intense physical activities, then feel free to do so. But if you’re worried about your joints giving out soon, then it’s best to stick to joint-friendly, low-impact exercises. These include walking, swimming, rowing, bicycling, and using an elliptical machine (14).
If you’re worried about hurting your knees or elbows while working out, you can use knee pads and elbow pads to protect them. Also, don’t forget to warm up and cool down before and after exercising.
Here are some other benefits of exercising and staying active (15):
- Maintains bone strength
- Strengthens muscles around the joints
- Weight control
- Also gives more energy
- Improves balance
Lastly, if weather permits, consider doing your exercise outdoors and get some Vitamin D in there as well! Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and muscle function. Moreover, it also helps reduce the risk of falling, a common enough occurrence in the elderly (16).
4) Maintain a healthy weight
As you grow older, you’ll start feeling the weight on your joints. This is because the joints on the lower half of your body bear most of your weight. Joint pain in the knees and hips is usually a product of carrying excess weight for years (17).
Now, here’s an interesting fact – every pound you lose takes 4 pounds of pressure off your knees! This significantly reduces pain and inflammation. It may even slow down cartilage degeneration in osteoarthritic knees (18).
There are many ways to maintain a healthy weight. You can eat healthily, avoid junk foods, exercise regularly, get more sleep, etc. But you know what’s really difficult about weight goals? Staying disciplined and committed. Try changing your habits instead, so you can stick to your goals for the long run.
5) Take collagen
Collagen is not really known as a supplement for joint health since it’s usually associated with hair, skin, and nail health. But did you know collagen is one of the building blocks of the human body? It’s true – it is indeed a major component of bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and more. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to know that taking collagen may help promote healthy joints (19).
By consuming more collagen, you may help increase bone density and reduce bone degradation – two very important benefits for joint health! It is therefore important to restore collagen stores in your body. To begin with, consider eating bone broth regularly or start taking collagen supplements.
Final words on how to keep your joints healthy as you age
Taking proactive measures to care for your joints in your younger years may help prevent joint pain decades later. For long-term joint health, it’s best to eat a healthy diet and live an active lifestyle. Take joint supplements when necessary and upon advice from your doctor. Lastly, do try to avoid getting injured. Injury to the joint can cause all sorts of problems, especially if they don’t heal properly.