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Keeping Your Joints Strong and Healthy

April 19th, 2012

Keeping joints strong and healthy is the topic of our blog today.  As every serious athlete and bodybuilder probably knows, our joints can take quite a beating when our bodies are being pushed to their physical limits.  It is important to strengthen and protect them in order to avoid injuries and keep them functioning properly for many years of hard work. Heavy weightlifting and constant use of fast-twitch muscles put a lot of strain on our joints and muscles and make athletes especially susceptible to tears, strains and dislocations.  Joints are quite complicated mechanisms and what may seem like a small injury can lead to long-term discomfort. Taking the proper supplements can go a long way when trying to keep your joints healthy. A little bit of prevention can save you from years of suffering. Here are a few ways you can strengthen and protect your joints:

  1. Use free weights – Resistance machines are great for toning and strengthening, but using free weights incorporates many more muscles and requires far more quick contractions in order to stabilize the weight. Our joints are stabilized and held in place by the muscles that surround it, so using them to stabilize the weight will strengthen them and help you to avoid injuries.
  2. Exercise problematic joints – If you have ever injured a major joint then you know that you have to take extra precautions with it when you are at the gym or playing sports. I recommend spending about 5-10 minutes at the beginning of your workout to strengthen that joint and get it warmed up for the stress you are about to put on it. Also, incorporate dynamic stretching into your warm-up and cool-down periods.  Rotational exercises and simple movements are often the best way to strengthen the muscles around joints.
  3. Mix up your workouts – Many injuries occur because of strenuous, repetitive motion so constantly switching the types of sports or exercise you do can not only help to avoid this but also challenge your body and make it continuously adapt and become more versatile. Just be careful not to do too much too soon when you engage in new activities as your body may not be ready to handle such stress. It is always better to play it safe rather than sorry!
  4. Always use proper form and technique – It is easy to get lazy and forget the fundamentals of exercising and weightlifting. I’m sure we have all witness the guy at the gym that attempts to lift way too much weight and uses completely improper form to accomplish it. Not only is he at a high risk of injury but he is also not going to get any results. Do not sacrifice form and technique in order to lift more weight.
  5. Supplement for joint health – There are tons of great joint support supplements on the market but there are a few things you should look for them to contain when choosing one. While there are several supplements that have been shown to support healthy joints, these are probably the 3 most important ones:

Glucosamine – This has been shown in studies to prevent cartilage degeneration and can ultimately strengthen the cartilage in your joints which will keep them working properly for years to come. It is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis because of its ability to do this and because many people find it to ease the pain in their joints.

Chondroitin – This too is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis and used by many people as an effective way to provide joint support. It is a major component of what makes up our cartilage and is largely responsible for resisting compression and maintaining the structural integrity of the tissue.

MSM  (Methylsulfonylmethane) – This too is used to prevent and treat osteoarthritis for its ability to alleviate pain and inflammation in joints. This can be beneficial for athletes of all types because of the amount of stress they put on their joints from repetitive motion.

While these supplements can be bought separately to meet specific needs, many people choose to take a joint support supplement that contains all 3 of these ingredients.  Here are a couple joint support supplements that incorporate these 3 ingredients.

BODYSTRONG Glucosamine Chondroitin and MSM

BODY FIRST Glucosamine Chondroitin and MSM

BAYWOOD Super Joints

DOCTOR’S BEST Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM + Hyaluronic Acid

MET-RX Super Joint Guard

 

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