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10 Things To Remember If You Have Joint Problems

10 Things To Remember If You Have Joint Problems

Creaky knees and aching backs often come much earlier than we would like to admit. You may notice that you limp a bit after a competitive basketball game, or you may see swelling around your ankles after spending more time on your feet than normal.

These little warning signs are easy to dismiss.

Unfortunately, ignoring joint pain can mean big problems in the future. However, just a bit of prevention can mean you will keep your original joints long into your golden years. Whether you’re 28 or 82, here are 10 tips to keep your joints healthy and protected.

1. Surrender to Leg Day

To help ease joint pain, especially around the knees, build up your hamstrings and quadriceps. You can achieve this by working out the lower body by doing squats or leg curls. When you have stronger surrounding muscles, they can help support your joints and take the burden off of your knees.

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    2. Get Your Calcium

    You’ve heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” Think about what you drink as well. Instead of reaching for a soda that is filled with empty calories, opt for a drink that is high in calcium.

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    Smoothies, milk, protein shakes and even calcium-fortified orange juice are all beneficial in making sure you get your daily dose of calcium.

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      3. Go Against Gravity

      Just like our muscles, bone is living tissue that gets strong with exercise. Studies show that men and women who exercise regularly generally achieve greater peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) than those who do not. The best exercise to build up bone? Focus on weight-bearing exercises like weight training or resistance-type moves using your own body weight.

      Also, don’t let that desk job be a deterrent to getting into shape and helping your bones stay strong. There are many exercises you can do at work. Some of these exercises include the chair stand, which builds up the leg muscles.

      To try it, sit in a normal-height chair, stand up and then sit down; then repeat. You can also work your triceps by using the resistance against the arm rest, or as an assist if you need some support.

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        4. Go Low Impact

        If you are feeling pain from too much high-impact exercise, and you need to find alternatives, try yoga, water aerobics or an elliptical trainer. Elliptical trainers are the ideal low-impact home workout machine if you don’t have a gym membership.

        These trainers allow you to challenge your cardiovascular system and tone muscles without the high-impact shock on your joints from running or jumping.

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          5. Rest Up

          Overuse or injury can break down the cartilage of joints, which can cause a narrowing of the joint space and bones which rub together. This can form bony growths known as bone spurs, which can then lead to possible osteoarthritis.

          To stop this from happening, listen to your body and avoid overextending or overusing your joints when exercising. If you feel pain longer than two hours after exercising, your workout was probably too strenuous. If you have a burning sensation in your joints and muscles, rest.

          Your body is like a vehicle. It can overheat and needs to slow down at times to cool down. This burning sensation could be a sign of a more serious condition. Always listen to your body and rest when you feel pain. If the pain continues, see a doctor.

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            6. Stretch it Out

            If you are sore the next day after exercising, stretch! As much as you feel like that first cup of coffee is vital for waking up and becoming alert, so is increasing your flexibility and stretching. However, never stretch cold muscles. Do a light warm up before you stretch to make sure your joints, ligaments, and tendons are loosened up first.

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              7. Make Water Your Friend

              Don’t be afraid to get wet. If you have access to a gym that has a pool, use it! Water helps to alleviate weight on the joints in so many ways. Doing your workout in the pool helps take off that extra weight that gravity naturally adds, while also building up muscle and cardiovascular health.

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                8. Avoid Taking the Stairs

                If you have knee trouble, don’t always take the stairs to get those extra few minutes of exercise in each day. The constant use of the stairs can actually add to the breakdown of cartilage of the joints; so get your exercise in a low-impact way and avoid stairs when you can. When you do need to use stairs, try to engage your entire core to take the strain off of your lower body.

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                  9. Get to the Core

                  To help strengthen your joints, strengthen your core. Building up the abdominal muscles can help ease the burden on joints. This is especially true of the joints in the neck, back, lower back and hips. By having better support all around, you will naturally maintain a healthier posture and put less pressure on those joints.

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                    10. Drop Excess Pounds

                    If you want to reduce your risk of osteoarthritis and you are overweight, getting rid of excess fat can help to relieve the pressure on your joints. When you walk, go up and down stairs or get in or out of a chair, you can put up to one and a half times your body weight on your joints.

                    So, a 200-pound man will put 300 pounds of force on his joints with each step. All of that stress from the added weight can increase your risk for osteoarthritis. Once the osteoarthritis has occurred, extra weight will further aggravate the injury with increased pain and further breakdown of the joints.

                    Luckily, reducing that weight will also give you a huge benefit in relief for your knees. For every pound that you lose, you reduce the pressure on your joints by 1.5 pounds. That return on investment is definitely worth participating in a good weight-loss program.

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                      8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

                      8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

                      Vegetarianism has been around for a long time, finding favor with many people, including Pythagoras clear back around 580 B.C. It’s been presented as one of the most healthy diets around, including being touted by the Egyptians to the point of abstaining from meat and animal clothing due to karmic beliefs. The vegetarian society (vegsoc.org) defines vegetarianism as:

                      “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

                      While it’s pretty obvious that there are multiple benefits to following a vegetarian diet, it’s always good to be informed about the cons of this dietary choice as well.

                      Outlined below are several things you might want to be aware of before you say good-bye to meat forever. Whether you are a current vegetarian, or contemplating making a shift, keep in mind these 8 things to keep yourself healthy.

                      1. You could suffer from B12 vitamin deficiency

                      The B vitamins are especially important for stress management, adrenal health, and brain function. Vegetarians in particularly are at risk for B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is attached to the protein in animal products and without enough B12 you can suffer from depression, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate.

                      Due to its attachment to animal proteins, B12 is the hardest for vegetarians to obtain when they don’t eat dairy or eggs in their diet. This essential little vitamin can be found in some algae and has been added to some yeast, but research doesn’t currently provide enough information to say whether or not these forms of B12 are of good quality and can provide adequate supplementation.

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                      The body is unable to make this vitamin, meaning it has to be taken in through food or supplementation. Essential for making red blood cells, DNA, nerves and various other function in the body, a Harvard Health Medical report in January of 2013 found symptoms of a B12 deficiency can present in sneaky ways including depression, paranoia, delusion, and loss of taste and smell.

                      2.  You could suffer from higher states of anxiety/depression, lower sense of well-being

                      According to a CBS Atlanta report, vegetarians suffered from a higher rate of anxiety and depression than their counterparts. Read the full report here. Depression and/or anxiety can be a result of many possible deficiencies including essential vitamins and amino acids you can find only in meat products, including Omega-3s from wild caught salmon.

                      Without the correct supplementation and proper understanding of diet, including the importance of micro and macro nutrients, depression and anxiety can become a serious problem, bringing down the overall health and well-being of vegetarians.

                      Even though reports on health and lifestyle show vegetarians have a lower BMI and lower consumption of alcohol and drugs, it also shows they suffer from more chronic illnesses and more visits to the doctor than their meat eating counterparts.

                      3. You could suffer from excess weight

                      When you go vegetarian it opens up a lot of food, but just because there isn’t any meat in front of you, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary healthy. Though pizza and beer technically fall under the vegetarian diet, it’s not a healthy choice for your waist line.

                      Just because being a vegetarian is associated with a healthier lifestyle in many cases, doesn’t mean it’s always true. Making bread and pasta your staples and not understanding where your protein sources should be coming from, can pack on body fat, which increases your chances of health issues such as diabetes and chronic inflammation.

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                      If the choice to go vegetarian happens on a whim without the proper understanding of food control, portion, and nutritionally dense alternatives you can find yourself reaching for vegetarian foods, which could cause serious problems down the road. Nuts are a good example, but just because something is touted as healthy, it doesn’t mean, your should eat it in excess.

                      Eating too many calories in fat will still cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in carbs will cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in protein will cause you to gain weight. See a pattern here? Not to mention you’ll miss out on important nutrients the body needs by over-eating in one area and under-eating in another. Re-read number 2.

                      4. You could have a higher risk of heart disease

                      Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables should be a goal we all strive for, but when you cut out meat, you also cut out what is known as complete protein, which you find in animal by-products. Complete means more than just the essential amino acids, it means those amino acids contain dietary sulfur. Without enough dietary sulfur, which is found almost exclusively in fish and pasture feed grass beef, the body will struggle with the biological activities of both protein and enzymes.

                      The effects cascade downward, effecting bones, joints, tissues, and even metabolic issues. In short, a low intake of sulfur associated with a vegetarian diet can result in high blood levels of homocysteine, which may lead to blood clots in your arteries, blood clots raise your risk of stroke and heart attack. To read the full report click here.

                      5. You could suffer from low cholesterol

                      I know, at first you’re thinking, wait, low cholesterol is a good thing. Yes, it is, when it’s LDL cholesterol, which you get from eating an unhealthy diet, but low HDL (good cholesterol) can cause serious health issues. HDL, according to the mayo clinic, is in every cell in our body and can help fend off heart disease, not enough of it though, and too much LDL can go the other way, will be building up plaque in the arteries and leading to heart disease.

                      Cholesterol, the good kind, is actually vitally important to the making of every steroid hormone in the body! There are six, and without cholesterol the body is unable to convert hormones, and it can cause damage in the endocrine system.

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                      A vegetarian without a balanced diet, meaning enough protein, enough veggies, and enough good fats, could disrupt his or her adrenals, which are directly connected to the endocrine system and the body’s ability to make and synthesize the hormones your body needs. The six major hormones in the body help do everything from metabolizing carbohydrates, to the electrolyte balance, to making sure if you’re a woman you can carry a healthy baby through pregnancy.

                      6. You could suffer from lower bone density and osteoporosis.

                      Osteoporosis, the disease where the bones get thinner, weaker, and fractures become a high risk with day to day movements. It’s often associated with the older generation, but your risk for osteoporosis increases with a lower bone density. Bone density can be directly related to diet and lifestyle, along with many other factors.

                      When it comes to eating a vegetarian diet it’s possible to miss getting enough of the right nutrients, causing the bones to begin to break down. If your vegetarian diet isn’t balanced and providing you with the correct nutrients and the means to absorb the correct nutrients, your body could begin to break down.

                      Recently, Professor Tuan Nguyen of Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research led a review of both Australian and Vietnamese research around the bone density of vegetarian versus their meat eating counterparts. Helping Professor Nguyen was Dr. Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from Pham Ngoc Thac University of Medicine in Vietnam. The review was designed to sort though years of research surrounded by discrepancies and inadequate clinical data.

                      At the end of the review, with vegetarianism rising to around 5% of the populace in the western continents, and with wide spread osteoporosis reports – 2 million in Australia and closer to 54 million in America – the decrease in bone density of vegetarians is a serious issue which needs to be addressed, if you’ve cut meat and animal by-products out of your life.

                      7. You could be at a higher risk for colorectal cancer

                      Cancer seems to be running rampant through America, and it’s within everyone’s best interest to do all they can to keep their body healthy and happy to prevent cancer from finding a place to grow. In most studies it’s been found vegetarians are at lower risk for cancer, but a European Oxford study with over 63 thousand men and women in the United Kingdom found the risk for colorectal cancer higher in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.

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                      Extra care needs to be taken when establishing a diet to ensure the body is receiving and able to up take all the important nutritional benefits and requirements from food.

                      8. You could end up eating more processed food

                      Depending on how deep you choose to go as a vegetarian, it could create the need to substitute a lot of food and recipe ingredients in your diet, but what happens when you cut out meat, eggs, and dairy and your recipe calls for meat, eggs, and/or dairy? You have to end up using a “healthy” vegetarian alternative which include stabilizers, thickeners, and various other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

                      Lauren from Empowered Substance puts it into a great perspective with her comparison of Earth Balance, a vegetarian approved butter replacement compared to butter. She points out the ingredients in Earth Balance consist of: Palm fruit oil, canola oil, safflower oil, flax oil, olive oil, salt, natural flavor, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, annatto color. Meanwhile, the ingredient list in butter, is much shorter. It’s butter.

                      That’s only one example. To appeal to the vegetarian lifestyle food manufacturers have found alternatives which fall under vegetarian, but aren’t necessarily healthy for you. Consider baked goods, which though vegetarian can be filled with more sugars and binders than regular baked goods with diary products. It’s the same with vegetarian items like mac and cheese, without using real cheese you may just be getting oil and thickeners, without even the smallest amount of nutritional value.

                      The reality is, most vegetarian substitutes contain the same junky alternatives which even meat eaters should be avoiding to remain happy and healthy.

                      On one final note, whichever lifestyle you choose to work with, remember anything in excess – including protein and animal by products – isn’t healthy for the body. It takes a wide spectrum of food and nutrients to keep the beautiful body you travel around in all day running in prime condition.

                       

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