Healthier joints, happier workouts

Last week, we talked a little about leg day; we went into different types of exercises and what exercises to do. This week I want to take a tour into joint health. Although I know joints aren’t on the top of our worries as college kids, we are thinking about our future careers, so why not think about the future in terms of keeping our bodies healthy while we’re at it? Therefore, I’ll explain what joints are, what habits keep joints healthy and what kinds of foods support them!

What are joints?

According to Webster Dictionary, “The point of contact between elements of [a human] skeleton with [muscles and ligament] that surround and support it.” Interesting, right? There are three different categories of joints: freely moveable, slightly moveable and immovable joints. Within these categories there are five different types of joints. The first is the “ball and socket,” which is a freely moving joint, i.e. the shoulders and hips. The next type is the “hinge joint,” which include the elbows and knees- allows backward and forward motion like a door. Another type is the “pivot joint,” which allows rotating movement i.e. within the forearm, allowing it to twist. The fourth type of joint is the “ellipsoidal joint,” which includes the base of your index finger or your wrist; allowing the bending motion. The last type of joint is the “saddle joint,” which is the joint that allows the thumb to bend towards the palm.

Ways to Keep the Joints Healthy

So, now that we know a little more about the different type of joints, I want to explore habits that we can pick up to keep them healthy. One of the best things we can do is exercise. Strong muscles will support joints and ligaments and keep joints safe. Doing aerobic exercises (cardio) reduce joint swelling. Whereas, sitting around allows joints to become stiff.

Knowing your limits while lifting weights and learning the difference between threatening pain or muscle growth (soreness) is crucial. Keeping a good posture is also crucial to keeping your joints healthy. One thing as college students we should keep in mind is keeping our backpack straps on both shoulders. Allow it to swing to one shoulder then it’ll put more stress on the joints in the back and hips. The last tip is a healthy diet! Which leads me to my last point!

Who doesn’t love food?

It’s one of the best parts of life, and there are certain types of foods to include in your diet that support healthy joints! Cherries- their color contains a chemical called anthocyanins which stops inflammation. Red peppers/citrus fruits/tomatoes- have vitamin C which helps the body make collagen. Canned Salmon (low- or non-fat plain yogurt or milk)- have calcium and vitamin D for bone strength the fish has Omega 3’s that stop inflammation.

Oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and barely- eat to fight inflammation (refined grains do the opposite!). Kale/broccoli- eat for antioxidants and vitamin C. Kale also contains calcium.
Joints are super important! They need that little extra time and loving care. Knowing what joints are is just the beginning. Creating habits to keep them healthy and eating a healthy diet will help your joints will stay in better shape! Stay healthy!