Joint and Bone Health
Stretching is often overlooked, but when done can lead to a better posture, fewer aches and pains, a more positive outlook on life and a better body.
Stretching can help blood circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to your brain allowing you to think clearer and brighten up your mood.
Your joints are the pinnacle for your body's ability to move and stay active, and without maintaining their flexibility through nutrition and other factors, your bone health will suffer as a result. If you plan on living an energetic lifestyle as you continue to get older, you will need to keep your joints engaged with various exercises. Distinct habits can help prevent too much pressure and force from being applied, which will cause stiffness and ultimately increased immobility. On top of a well-balanced diet, here are some tips to help you maintain healthy bone joints through aging.
Practice your posture
There is a reason why your parents always told you to sit up straight, and it doesn't necessarily have to do with being well mannered. The way you sit, stand, walk or run can have an enormous impact on your joint health, especially if you continue to practice incorrect posture. If your job requires long periods of sitting, always try to keep your back straight and have both feet on the floor, which will help avoid unnecessary episodes of stress on your joints. Also try to keep your head level and resist cocking your neck at certain angles, while carrying items such as backpacks or satchels should always be supported with both shoulders instead of only one.
Switch up your exercise
If your bones are starting to ache after every time you go out for a run or play a sport, it probably isn't because you are out of shape, but it could be due to the abundance of pressure you are putting on your joints. If soreness and stiffness continue to plague your physical activities, try switching up your exercises for something that has a lower-impact on your joints, such as swimming or cycling. You can essentially receive the same intensity of workout from these forms of activity, and you will save your joints from a lot of pain as well.
Maintaining balance grows more important as we age, and if you notice yourself a bit wobbly now, it may be time to start strengthening your core. Your midsection plays an important role in staying on your feet, whether during athletics or when you're bringing in groceries. In addition to working out your abdominal muscles, you'll want to make sure that your major joints – the hips and knees, mainly – are steady and stable as well. A joint supplement can help to ensure that these parts of your body are ready for a challenge.
When it comes to the core, many people will turn to yoga or Pilates to gently strengthen their muscles. However, signing up for a class and sticking to a schedule can be tricky when you're busy. Instead, you can try out some of these balancing exercises at home on your own:
To start things out, try practicing simple weight shifts. These are as easy as standing with your feet hip-width apart, having your weight evenly distributed between both legs. From here, shift your weight to one side, as you lift the other foot off of the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds, or as long as you can hold good form. Then you should return to the starting position and practice the exercise on the other side. Overtime, you'll notice improvements to your balance, as you are able to complete more repetitions while maintaining perfect form.
Now, to focus more on your core, try completing a set of toe raises. To do so, you'll want to be barefoot. Standing behind a chair, lightly place your fingertips on the back of it. Keep your shoulders back, with your abdomen pulled in. Now, lift your heels off of the ground slowly, redistributing your body weight to the balls of your feet. Pause for a moment before returning to the starting position. You should be able to do this eight to 15 times. Completing this exercise requires your core to keep the body stable, and you will also find that it strengthens the calves.
Seniors who are looking to improve their balance can do so with the heel-to-toe walk. With your arms extended out to either side, take a step forward by placing the heel of your left foot directly in front of the toe of your right foot. When doing so, the heel and toe should be touching or almost touching. While performing this walk, you should keep your head straight and your eyes focused on something located directly in front of you. Continue walking heel to toe for 20 steps.
For something a bit more challenging, the liftoff helps to strengthen the abs in addition to the back, shoulders, hamstrings and butt. This is another great option for strengthening the core, which will ultimately improve your balance. To start, stand with your feet together and arms at your sides. Bring your back parallel to the ground by hinging forward at the hips – you'll need to extend your arms down to help maintain your balance. Now, lift one leg from the ground and raise it out behind you. While doing so, bring your arms directly out from your sides. This puts all of your weight on one leg and you will need the muscles in your core to prevent you from falling. Keeping that hinged position, lower your leg and arm back to the starting position, and switch to your other leg.
Depending on your age and fitness level, you may want to start with varying balancing exercises. As you increase strength to the core, you'll find that you are able to complete more difficult routines easily.
Though bowling is reminiscent of 1950s America to most, it has actually been around in some form for at least a few thousand years, purportedly developed in Egypt in 3200 B.C. Though we typically think of bowling as a leisure activity – all fun and games – it actually has many health benefits. Here are some examples:
Bowling promotes muscle strength and growth
As an anaerobic exercise, bowling is similar to walking with weights in hand. It works the legs, arms, shoulder, chest and possibly even core muscles. For an extra workout in between turns, practice some simple exercises, such as squats or lunges, using a lighter ball as your weight. According to some research, if one uses a 16-pound ball, a three-game series will cause him or her to swing one-third of a ton of weight!
It burns calories
Sure, you won't burn near as many calories as you would running or biking, but you can shed a few hundred per game of bowling! The important things is that bowling gets you on your feet. Remain standing, rather than sitting after your turn to burn the most calories.
Bowling keeps the heart rate up
It is weight bearing and involves stretching and walking. Standing for the entire game with keep your heart rate up.
It helps with flexibility and balance
During bowling, you flex and stretch various ligaments, joints, tendons and muscles in both the arms and legs. Additionally, supporting and swinging the ball in the way necessary requires balance.
Bowling is good for happiness
Getting out and going bowling with friends and family members, or in a competitive league, is a good way to stay social and get exercise, all in one. One of the best parts of bowling is that almost anyone can do it!
Many of us spend a lot of time thinking about physical health in general, and we mostly talk about it in terms of "staying fit" and "losing weight." But there are other reasons to exercise consistently, such as for boosting your mental health or preventing future injuries. One very important reason to stay active and exercise in certain ways is to promote bone health and ensure that our muscles can support healthy and strong joints to prevent arthritis, osteoarthritis and other types of pain.
Knees are the joints most commonly affected as we age, but other areas commonly affected are hips, shoulders and ankles. The goal of exercising for joint health is to do strength training, which strengthens the muscles surrounding the joints and promotes stability and balance. Here are some good exercises for joint health:
- Squats strengthen the muscles around your knee and hip joints. To do one properly, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at your knees, lower your hips, keep your stomach pulled in tight and your body straight. Then come back up.
- Do yoga, tai chi or Pilates to strengthen your muscles in a low-impact way.
- Strengthen your hip muscles by doing standing side leg lifts. Stand straight, holding the back of a chair if necessary. While keeping your hips and shoulders facing straight, lift your leg to the side, do 10 to 15 reps and holding each for five seconds.
- Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise with great cardio benefits. You can boost muscle strength without hurting your joints.
Aside from exercising, you can maintain joint health by eating well, keeping a healthy weight, stretching and avoiding too many sedentary activities. You can also try a supplement for joint health like Naturade FlexAid Advanced Joint Formula, which contains natural ingredients for flexibility, mobility and joint comfort, including vitamin D3, glucosamine and collagen. It also contains Univestin®, which has Cutch Tree and Chinese Skullcap extracts.
Even though they’re solid, bones are dynamic, living tissue, made mostly from collagen and calcium phosphate, a mineral that hardens bone exterior. But as you age, existing bone breaks down faster than new bone is made, increasing risk of osteoporosis, a condition that reduces bone density and raises chance of fractures. Support your skeleton at any age with these expert suggestions.
Pump up protein
Collagen, a certain type of protein, forms bones’ scaffolding, enabling them to withstand stress. If you’re protein deficient, bones can become brittle, leading to breakage no matter how much calcium they contain because the body makes collagen from amino acids, protein’s building blocks. Get 15 percent to 25 percent of your daily calories from various protein sources. Good choices include organic, grass-fed buffalo; free-range eggs; and sprouted legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Limit acidic foods
Foods common in poor diets (pizza, white bread, potato chips, sweets) promote an acidic body environment. To achieve and maintain a healthy, neutral blood pH, your body will scavenge important minerals like calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and silica from more alkaline tissues, such as bone, which weakens them. Limit acidic foods like processed foods, sugar, grains, dairy, and caffeine or alcohol, and increase pH-balancing vegetables like zucchini and cucumber.
Watch calcium intake
Calcium isn’t the only player in bone density; in fact, many people actually have too much calcium in their bodies, which can contribute to kidney stones, joint pain, and possibly heart disease. Vitamin K2 regulates excess calcium deposits and supports bone integrity. Try 100 mcg vitamin K2 per day.
Weight-bearing exercises activate bone cells called osteoblasts, which form new bones. Climb stairs, hike, bike, or run for at least 30 minutes every day. Walking uphill is also a safe alternative if you cannot do high-impact activity. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, exercise with a physical therapist’s guidance.
The hormones parathyroid, estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol all influence bone health. When one hormone is deficient, it causes a domino effect that imbalances other hormones, diminishing calcium absorption and deteriorating bones. If you’re a menopausal woman or a man with unusually low energy levels, work with an endocrinologist to get your hormone levels tested and develop a comprehensive hormone balance plan.[box]THE WRINKLES-BONES CONNECTION
Everyone gets wrinkles, whether from sun exposure, processed foods, or ageing. But research from the Yale School of Medicine shows deeper wrinkles may also indicate lower bone density, increasing fracture risk. Why? Skin and bones share the same building block proteins, including collagen, which keeps skin taut.
The Fix: Take 2,000 mg collagen (including types I and III) daily and eat foods containing lysine, an amino acid that helps your body build collagen and absorb calcium. Lysine-rich foods include fish, egg whites, and legumes. For overall skin health and wrinkle prevention, also opt for free radical-fighting fruits and vegetables, along with healthy oils such as alive oil and flaxseed oil.[/box] [hr]
Many people look forward to living a long life. But it’s hard to find someone who isn’t concerned with the physical symptoms that come with aging, from wrinkles to joint pain. In fact, a recent study found that habitual sunbathers are more likely to kick their habit at the threat of wrinkles than that of cancer. And as Baby Boomers reach their golden years, many are looking for ways to maintain their youthful appearance and lifestyle without undergoing injections and other invasive procedures. Shoppers seeking to naturally promote antiaging from the inside out have an ally in the supplement aisle: BioCell Collagen.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body, accounting for 30 percent of our total supply, and it mostly resides in connective tissues in the skin and joints such as cartilage, skin dermis, bones, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. When we’re young, collagen is abundant and allows us to move with ease, plus enables our skin to stretch and move without sagging or developing wrinkles. As we age, collagen production naturally slows and the overall amount depletes, which can result in undesirable wrinkles in the skin and painful stiffness in the joints.
Over 20 different types of collagen have been identified, but generally speaking, you’ll find two types in the supplement aisle: type I, which is abundant and found primarily in the hides, bones, and skin of animals, and type II, which is rarer because it is only found in cartilage where it naturally coexists with hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate in a blood-free environment.
Of these types, collagen is either unhydrolyzed (also known as undenatured) or hydrolyzed. In its original, unhydrolyzed state, collagen molecules are very large and therefore not effectively absorbed by the body. Hydrolyzation breaks down the collagen into small molecular weight fragments to maximize absorption, explains Joosang Park, MD, vice president of scientific affairs at BioCell Technology, makers of BioCell Collagen—a patented ingredient comprised of naturally occurring hydrolyzed collagen type II, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid.
The science of BioCell Collagen
When it comes to skin care, studies show that BioCell Collagen can reduce skin dryness and wrinkles. In a study, a daily 1 gram dose of BioCell Collagen yielded a significant increase in the skin’s collagen (including types I and III) content after just six weeks; the study’s participants saw a visual difference in the skin—a 76 percent reduction in dryness and a 13 percent reduction in fine lines and wrinkles—after the full 12 weeks of treatment.
BioCell Collagen also was shown to offer relief to those suffering from joint discomfort. In a recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human study of 80 participants with a chronic history of joint pain, study participants experienced a significant reduction in pain and stiffness.
BioCell Collagen’s patented composition also delivers chondroitin sulfate, which provides shock-absorbing properties to joint cartilage, and hyaluronic acid (HA), which is critical to achieving lubricated joints and smooth, hydrated skin. In fact, in a human study, participants who took daily doses of BioCell Collagen saw hyaluronic acid levels increase 60-fold in their blood during the 28 days of the study period.
Furthermore, BioCell Collagen has been shown to inhibit hyaluronidase, the enzyme that destroys HA. Thus, BioCell Collagen packs an impressive dual HA mechanism to tackle aging-associated dehydration as well as replenish the loss of the various essential structural components of skin.
As a validation of the strong science, Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate has approved BioCell Collagen to help relieve joint pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee and to help maintain healthy skin.
It’s impossible to turn back the clock on aging, but supplemental collagen can help stimulate the body’s own regenerative potential to achieve younger looking skin and more active joints … without going under the knife.
Look for BioCell Collagen in oral supplements such as Ultimate HA (Purity Products), BioCell Collagen (Health Logics), Jusuru Life Blend (Jusuru International), Hydroplenish (Nature’s Way) and Collagen Booster (Reserveage), and many other fine nutritional and skincare brands.
Whether you live in a city, in the mountains, at the beach or in a suburban neighborhood, biking can be a great way to get from place to place. In addition to being an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to get around, biking has numerous health benefits that can keep you fit while you're having fun. Here are ten reasons to grab life by the handlebars and take advantage of all your bicycle has to offer.
1. It's good for your heart
Because it gets your heart pumping and helps regulate breathing, bicycling can be good for cardiovascular health. Frequent biking can also help improve stamina and endurance.
2. Weight loss
Biking is a great way to burn calories and keep weight down, but it can also lead to a faster metabolism, meaning that you can stay fit even after your ride is over.
3. Benefits the immune system
Studies have shown that riding your bike can actually help strengthen your immune system, which may help keep you healthy year-round.
4. It's easy on joints
Unlike high-impact physical activities like running, biking gets you moving without putting too much stress on your joints. Knees, ankles and feet can all benefit from a low impact fitness routine like cycling, which makes it an especially great exercise for those who may want to stay active while recovering from an injury.
5. Strengthens and tones muscles
Because cycling primarily uses your largest muscle group – the legs – many cyclists see improved muscle tone in their thighs, calves and hips. And, because it's a low-impact activity, you'll build muscle gradually without risking a muscle strain or tear.
6. Improves coordination
It's a fairly common misconception that biking is a workout that only helps your legs, but it's actually a full-body workout! Bikers pedal with their legs, steer with their arms and keep their heads on a swivel to look for cars and pedestrians. This can lead to improved arm-to-leg, feet-to-hands and body-to-eye coordination.
7. Reduces stress
According to some psychotherapists, biking can actually be extremely effective in reducing stress. In fact, more general practitioners are actually recommending that their patients try biking when they feel overwhelmed.
8. Improves mental health
In addition to lessening stress, biking can improve general mental health. Neurologists have found that a spike in endorphins occurs after bike rides, leading cyclists to experience a "biker's high," similar to what joggers feel after a run.
9. Corrects posture
Many of the muscles you use on a bike ride are the same ones that can help improve posture. Cyclists need strong abdominal muscles to pedal without wobbling, and the back is a contributor to bike fitness as well, especially on longer rides.
10. You'll sleep better
Many cyclists know how well a good bike ride can wear you out, and it's true – biking can help you fall and stay asleep each night. Scientists have found that outdoor exercise like cycling helps helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which can in turn improve and regulate sleeping patterns. In addition, because stress hormones like cortisol can prevent deep sleep, cycling's stress-relieving ability means you'll snooze more soundly, too.
Swimming is one of the best exercises for your joints and an activity that cools you off during the hot summer months. Whether you're swimming laps, playing pool games or simply treading water, you're burning calories and doing a whole lot of other good for your body. According to ABC affiliate KRCR, swimming can actually help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, promoting a healthier heart. So next time you hit the pool this summer, whip up a protein shake with Naturade Total Soy protein powder for a way to cool off and try out this hot workout:
Start with a warm-up
Get your muscles warmed up in the water by treading water or swimming slowly through the pool to get your blood pumping.
The otter roll
Grab a beach ball and hug it to your chest, floating on your back with your legs extended and feet together. Roll over to your left side and over the top of the ball using your entire body like your shoulders, core, legs and back to make a full revolution back to the starting position. Continue doing this exercise, alternating the direction in which you're rolling. This exercise targets your abs, back, glutes and legs all at the same time.
The underwater V-up
Swim over to the shallow end of the pool and sit back into the water, treading with your hands out to your side and your legs lifted out in front of you so that you fold at the hips to form the letter "V." Slowly try to bring your legs to your chest, keeping them as straight as you can, making the V shape less wide. Return legs to the starting position, continuing to tread water with your arms. Do about 15 to 20 repetitions. If you want to make it a bit easier, feel free to bend your knees into a tuck position. You'll be working your triceps, shoulders, back and abs.
The ball lever
Take the same beach ball you used for the previous exercise and hold it with your arms stretched straight in front of you, so you should be floating chest-deep in the pool with your feet behind you. Next, move the ball under the water toward your thighs as fast as you can. When the ball has reached your legs, bend your elbows to slowly bring it back to the surface. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds. The bigger the beach ball, the harder this move will be.
If you're looking to tone up your shoulders, back, arms, chest and abs, grab a kickboard and jump in the pool. Sit on the kickboard with your knees remaining tightly together. Your legs should be dangling over the board. Straighten out your arms in front of your body with your palms facing away from one another. Then, mimicking the breast stroke, sweep arms out the the sides. If you can, stroke your way across the length of the pool, or about 30 seconds, then switch and go in the opposite direction with your palms facing forward – this will work other muscles in the arms.
You can't have a great workout without great shoes. They may seem like an afterthought before you hit the gym, but in order to maintain healthy bones and joints and be on your way to your goal weight, it's important to choose the right shoes. Generic sneakers may not work as well for the type of exercise you do. For example, a runner wouldn't be wearing the same shoes as a basketball player, because the types of physical activity require the body to move differently.
But whichever type of shoe you end up choosing, there is a general rule for all types of shoes: Make sure they fit right. Be sure your foot has enough room – there should be a thumbnail's width, or about a half inch, between your toes and the end of the shoe. Examine how your heel moves in the shoe as well – you don't want it easily slipping out. The shoe should not pinch or bind any area of your foot, especially across the arch and ball of your foot.
If you're a big walker – you walk to the store, around the neighborhood and also for exercise - you're going to need a shoe that supports all of the physical activity that you do. A good walking shoe should be fairly lightweight and provide ample shock absorption. You should be choosing a shoe that accommodates your arch type. Here are the three categories:
High-arched feet: This type could cause excessive strain on joints and muscles and your feet may not absorb impact as well. Therefore, those with high arches should be looking for shoes with plenty of cushioning to compensate.
Low-arched or flat feet: Muscle stress and joint problems may come from low-arched feet. While taking a joint supplement may help promote healthy joints, choosing the right shoe may help as well. Search for a walking shoe with motion control to help stabilize your feet.
Neutral-arched feet: These feet are neither low or high-arched. Therefore, you should be looking for a shoe with firm midsoles, straight soles and moderate rear-foot stability.
If you plan on running long distances, look for shoes with neutral cushioning and motion control. Mark Sheehan, vice president of product development at K-Swiss, said that the more tired a runner gets, the more his or her form suffers. Therefore, runners need a shoe that is going to give them the stability they need every time their foot hits the ground in order to prevent injury.
Whether you're attending Zumba or breaking a sweat for a spin class, group fitness activities require a shoe that has a multi-purpose outsole, with a durable and breathable upper and lower midsole. This will give you just the right amount of cushioning and shock absorption to cover you in whatever type of activity you'll be doing that day.
Tennis players need to be able to move in a variety of directions, so they need a shoe that can keep up with all of their movement. Look for extra support around the midfoot and a flexible outsole that allows for smooth stopping and starting.