When you’re working out regularly, it can be easy to neglect your joints and ligaments. If you’re not sure what that means, you’re not alone! Joints are the points where bones meet and ligaments are connective tissue within them that form the joints.
Just like with cars and electronics, we don’t consider wear and tear on our bodies until there’s a problem. But the reality is that even sedentary individuals experience varying levels of joint deterioration. Consequently those who engage in regular, intense workouts put even more stress on their body.
Here are five ways to protect your joint health and extend full range of mobility. Not only that, employing these methods will stave off or relieve pain.
Making sure that appropriate form is observed is key. Details like controlling the core and maintaining the correct posture are important during cardio, strength training, and even something as regular as running to your car or climbing stairs. Targeting areas that can take more impact when lifting weight like heels and glutes is also essential. It’s best to begin workouts by “activating” your glutes and core with exercises specifically designed for them. You’re more likely not to compromise form and injure yourself once the fire is lit in these dominant muscles.
Stretching + Foam Rolling
Sadly, a large portion of the #FitFam are guilty of ignoring the necessity of stretching. However, not performing activities to release tension in overworked muscles is a prime culprit of injury. Repeatedly working a muscle without giving it T.L.C. is a recipe for disaster and hell for your joints. While pre-workout stretches are a hot debate item amongst fitness professionals, everyone agrees that post-workout stretching, as well as foam rolling, is a must for healthy joints and muscles.
Working out seven days a week sounds like a great idea in theory, but the physiological reality is that your body requires a break. Making sure you carve out days that are lower impact is essential to protecting yourself from injury. When you overwork your body, you put yourself directly in harm’s way by compromising your joint, ligament, and muscle health. While it’s great to be super active, taking care of yourself is also allowing your joints and muscles time to heal from all of the paces you put them through.
One aspect of joint health that I’m new to but that has definitely resulted in a marked difference in my own joint health is the use of collagen. I purchased this bone broth gelatin on recommendation and I now swear by it. It eradicated the persistent hip pain resulting from hardcore workouts. Our bodies naturally produce collagen and infusing yourself with additional collagen results in smoother joint movement and overall wellness. Not only that, it has anti-aging properties to boot!
Finally, there is no workout without proper nutrition, and certainly not great results. Ensuring you’re nourishing your body with the correct ratio of macronutrients for the activity in which you’re engaging is key to success. For instance, lifting a lot of weight without proper protein is a horrible idea. Without feeding your muscles the proper amount of protein, strength training can be in vain.
Moreover, ingesting an overabundance of carbs and doing a ton of cardio is also flushing hard work down the drain. Even not drinking enough water has a profound effect on how your joints behave. Making sure that you’re getting the right amount of protein + fat + carbs for your body and your activity level not only guarantees your fitness success but protects your joints by fueling your muscles. If you find yourself overwhelmed figuring out what works for you, consult a nutritionist to help design a plan. Ensuring that your body is getting everything it needs to perform should be at the top of your list.
Protecting your joint health is paramount to your fitness success, because your health is your wealth. This is why fitness professionals widely and repeatedly caution about defending against injury. The most poignant warnings come from those who had knee and hip replacements young because they were unkind to their joints.
If you’re fortunate enough to enjoy full mobility regarding joints and ligaments, learn how to safeguard them today. After all, we’re only given one body and the responsibility is ours to take care of it.