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Painful joints and aches can be cured by what you eat as well as exercise
More than 10 million people in the UK suffer from joint problems.

Aches and pains may make you shy away from keeping fit, but exercise is scientifically proven to be more effective at easing pain than just putting your feet up, mirror.co.uk wrote.

We take a look at simple changes that could help your joints.

 

Change 1: Don’t just stick to one type of exercise

 

“When you find an exercise you enjoy, it can be tempting to neglect other types of movement in favor of it,” said Paul Starkey, managing director at orthopedic support specialist Neo G.

“But by doing the same activities you’ll always engage the same muscles, which can put increased pressure on your joints over time.”

There are plenty of ways to stay fit and active as we age.

Walking and swimming are great forms of low-impact exercise which can help to keep joints mobile and increase strength without putting undue pressure on the joints.

“Weight training can help strengthen muscles around the joints and has been shown to reduce pain in people with conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis,” said Starkey.

This doesn’t mean you need to go to a gym — a couple of cans or bottles can make brilliant dumbbells.

Ask your GP about armchair exercises if you aren’t as mobile.

“If there’s one thing a person can do to help ease their joint pain, it’s getting strong,’ said musculoskeletal expert Professor Philip Conaghan.

“If you can’t undo a jar, or getting out of a chair is a struggle, you need exercises to strengthen your forearm and thigh muscles.”

 

Change 2: Get stretching

 

Stretching often gets neglected, but it can be one of the best things you can do to keep your joints healthy.

“Stretching helps to keep the muscles around the joint more elastic, which in turn increases the range of movement available to the joint, preventing stiffness and increasing mobility,’ explained Starkey.

“Stretching after exercise is key. Consider adding activities such as yoga or pilates into your weekly routine to prevent problems arising in later life.”

Even if you find cardio exercise tough, it’s essential you stretch out every day.

“The joints are designed to move,’ said Professor Mark Batt, director of the Arthritis Research UK Center for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis.

“Keeping mobile reduces stiffness, boosts muscle strength, helps keep joints correctly aligned, and maintains balance.’

 

Change 3: Keep trim

“One of the best things you can do to avoid joint problems and ease existing conditions is to maintain a healthy weight,” said Starkey.

“Knee problems in particular can arise when you’re carrying extra weight, with some studies estimating that every extra pound you carry puts on four extra pounds of pressure onto your knees as you walk — this can manifest in knee pain and osteoarthritis if not addressed.

Staying a healthy weight can seem like an uphill struggle as we age, but you needn’t battle it alone.

Your GP may be able to refer you to a local weight loss support group, or if your BMI is over 30 they might prescribe you a weight-loss drug such as Orlistat.

 

Change 4: Eat well

 

A good diet is vital for maintaining healthy bones and joints, especially for women, who can lose 20 percent of their bone density in the seven years after the menopause.

“Vitamin D, copper and calcium are three key vitamins and minerals that help maintain healthy joints, with numerous studies showing that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of conditions such as arthritis,’ explained Starkey.

“Vitamin D is most commonly created by exposure to sunlight, but low levels of sunlight in the UK and its scarcity in food can make it difficult to get your recommended allowance through diet alone.”

 

Listen to your body

 

Ignoring aches and pains is bad news for your joints.

“While a bit of discomfort during exercise is normal and to be expected, pain that continues long afterwards can be cause for concern, for example a sharp pain in your knee, or a twinge in your back,’ said Starkey.

“If this is the case, ensure you stop the activity and give your body time to rest and recuperate, using cold or hot therapy if necessary to aide your recovery.”

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