When we talk about fitness, we often think of strength, endurance and agility. However, all this is not possible without good joint mobility.
Taking care of joint mobility allows us to maintain our independence of movement without being limited by pain or fatigue. Several factors cause joint wear and tear, but we can do a lot to mitigate it and maintain a healthy and dynamic lifestyle
What do we mean by joint mobility?
A joint is a gear that holds the skeleton components together by acting as a hinge to allow the body to move.
Joint mobility is the range of movement that our joints have. The content of joint movement conditions the strength and functionality of our muscles and plays a fundamental role in maintaining our physical independence.
Several factors can compromise our joint health. We will tell you about them.
Factors involved in joint health
To take care of our joints, we need to know what factors influence them and how we can help to maintain our joint health.
- Age-related changes and their consequences. Collagen production, the main component of joint cartilage, decreases with age. In women, the hormonal changes associated with menopause lead to a decrease in oestrogen and an increased risk of joint pain. The passing of the years is an inevitable factor, although we will achieve well-coordinated care by working on the other elements.
- High-impact sports practice. If we have joint problems, it is better to opt for low-impact activities. High-impact exercises require greater force to get the feet off the ground when running or jumping, causing an impact on the joints.
- Overweight. Excess weight and obesity increase pressure on ligaments and tendons, causing inflammation and increased wear and tear on the cartilage.
- Sedentary lifestyle. Lack of physical activity leads to loss of strength and muscle mass and weakened joints.
- Poor nutrition. Hydration and a correct supply of vitamins and minerals are essential to our joint health
Importance of joint mobility
Maintaining correct joint mobility makes it easier to carry out all kinds of movements in our daily lives and has an impact on many functions of the body:
- It reduces the risk of injury. Movement increases the nourishment of the joint cartilage and strengthens the joints.
- It prevents the onset of musculoskeletal pain. Physical activity strengthens the musculature and relieves pressure on the joints.
- It contributes to optimal blood circulation. Movement activates circulation, promoting the delivery of nutrients to the cells and the elimination of toxins.
- It promotes neuromuscular processes.
Measures to mantain and restore joint mobility
Below, we explain several recommendations for joint care from the areas of our routines, physical activity and nutrition.
Habits that promote joint strength
Following these recommendations will help maintain and improve your joint health:
- Sufficient rest. Getting enough sleep on a proper mattress has many benefits, including helping to reduce joint inflammation.
- Correct postural habits. Bending at the knees, not spending too many hours in the same position, avoiding sofas that are too soft or carrying weight in a balanced way are all measures that promote joint care.
- Avoid being overweight. The extra kilos put additional strain on the joints and pressure them.
- Proper footwear. Shoes should be comfortable and have a slightly wide heel. High heels contribute to the degeneration of the foot and knee joints, while very flat shoes can cause osteoarthritis.
- Hydration. Water is essential to keep joints lubricated and helps to synthesise synovial fluid.Rutinas de ejercicio para mejorar nuestro estado articular.
Good joint mobility maintains a range of motion and flexibility.
Here is a brief routine of specific joint mobility exercises that can complement your physical activity:
- Flex and stretch your neck by moving your head up and down
- Slowly make circles with your head in both directions
- Bring the shoulders forward and backwards in circles
- With arms crossed, make circular movements forward and backwards
- Bend and straighten your elbows
- Make circles with your wrists.
- Place hands on hips and rotate torso to one side and the other
- Follow with bends to the right while stretching your left arm above your head. Do the same on the other side
- Slowly bend forward at the waist, trying to touch the tips of your toes with your hands. Slowly come up
- Stretched out on the floor, bring your knees to your chest alternately
- Sit on a chair with your back against the backrest and raise your legs alternately to the horizontal
- Do ankle rotations
Nutrition for healthy joints
Eating a proper diet that provides you with all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs is the basis of good health.
We highlight the most essential nutrients for maintaining joint health:
- Vitamin C. Stimulates collagen production.
- Vitamin D. Involved in the synthesis of proteoglycans. These protein molecules whose depletion alters the biomechanical properties of articular cartilage.
- Silica. Involved in the synthesis of elastin and collagen.
- Sulphur. This element is an essential part of joint collagen, and its deficiency slows down the joint repair processes.
- Calcium. Together with phosphorus, it is involved in forming and maintaining bones and joints.
- Magnesium. It facilitates the correct absorption of calcium and prevents it from accumulating in soft tissues, increasing the risk of arthritis.
- Kiwis, strawberries, oranges and broccoli are some foods most affluent in vitamin C.
- Pineapple and papaya. In addition to a good supply of vitamin C, they contain bromelain and papain, systemic enzymes with anti-inflammatory action.
- Onions, leeks, garlic, cabbage and asparagus are vegetables with high sulphur content.
- Nuts, legumes and whole grains. They provide magnesium.
- Meat. Without abusing them, their consumption provides protein, supplying the amino acids needed to synthesise collagen and keep joints strong.
- Oily fish. It is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids with an anti-inflammatory effect.
Joint mobility is the basis of our independence of movement.
Understanding the importance of joint mobility helps us become more involved in the health of our joints..