Take 3... ways to stay flexible
Joints can stiffen up with age. Here’s how to keep them moving...
‘If you have joint problems you may think moving about will make things worse, but in fact exercise can ease stiffness, relieve pain, increase movement and improve stability by strengthening muscles, as well as improving overall fitness and mood,’ says GP Dr Tom Margham from Arthritis Research UK.
Opt for a mixture of joint-friendly aerobic activities - think swimming, aquaerobics, walking, low impact dance, tai chi and cycling - resistance work (lifting weights or using weights machines at the gym) plus stretching in the form of yoga or Pilates. For more ideas visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
‘Good nutrition is essential to keep joints flexible and strong,’ says dietitian Helen Bond. ‘Include plenty of fruit and veg. They are full of vitamins and minerals as well as being low in calories to help maintain a healthy weight and ease strain on joints.’ Berries in particular are full of antioxidants that may help reduce joint inflammation and pain. Oily fish - think herring, mackerel and sardines - contain essential omega 3 fatty acids, to fight inflammation, joint pain and stiffness. Flaxseeds and oil, rapeseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts can all help top up those omega 3 stores too. Pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts are high in antioxidants and copper, to help support connective tissue.
‘The best supplements to help you stay flexible are omega 3 fish oils
, which reduce inflammation and ‘oil’ your joints from the inside,’ says Dr Sarah Brewer. ‘Krill oil
supplies additional antioxidants for extra benefit,’ she adds. Studies show that glucosamine and chondroitin taken together (glucosamine hydrochloride 1500mg daily plus chondroitin sulphate 1200mg daily) can more than halve symptoms of pain, stiffness, swelling and joint effusions in knee osteoarthritis after six months treatment.
Try Healthspan's Glucosamine & Chondroitin Optiflex Liquid
to help with the symptoms of stiff joints and to aid flexibility. Devil’s claw
extracts can also significantly improve osteoarthritis and general rheumatic pain and stiffness as well as being good for back pain.