Our bodies should operate as the proverbial well-oiled machine. We should be able to carry ourselves throughout the day with a healthy range of motion. That doesn’t always happen, of course. We injure ourselves or we move the wrong way and moving freely often becomes harder.
Everybody is different when it comes to flexibility. The range of motion that we have depends on how active we are, whether we are experiencing an injury and the health of the soft tissues that surround our joints. If we don’t stretch our muscles before an activity, the soft tissue experiences a fatigue that affects range of motion.
Stretching Routine Recommended
Weight-bearing joints including hips and knees are especially affected by poor flexibility, which can also lead to muscle fatigue. A regular stretching routine may be useful to increase coordination, return your muscles to a natural resting state and create a healthy blood flow. Stretching also cuts your risk of injury during activity and leads to enhanced physical performance.
No doubt about it, having a healthy exercise routine is key to maintaining flexibility and joint health. Experts advise having a varied exercise program with a balance of aerobic, muscle strengthening and flexibility exercises. Cross-training is a great method to achieving that balance and it also increases chances of sticking to an exercise routine because you won’t get bored doing the same thing over and over. When approaching aerobic or cardiovascular exercises, remember to start slowly with low intensity. Weight training is great for keeping muscles and joints strong, but proper form is important, so you might want to get a trainer if you’re not sure how to proceed.
Maintain joint health
Here are some steps for maintaining joint health:
- Try yoga: Gentle exercising like yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi help to keep joints strong and muscles limber. Conversely, kickboxing, step aerobics and such high-impact exercising are hard on your joints.
- Neck strain: Take advantage of document holders that attach to your computer monitor at eye level and hands-free phone headsets to reduce neck strain.
- Computer space: You should position your computer monitor to be from 20 to 26 inches from your upper body. The top of your monitor should be even with the top of your head. Your arms should be able to hang comfortably at your sides, with your elbows at right angles and your wrists relaxed.
- Low heels: A three-inch heel puts seven times more stress on your foot than a one-inch heel. Heels also strain knees and can lead to osteoarthritis.
- Cut down on TV: When you sit for long periods of time, as we do when we watch TV, our metabolism slows down. We also tend to overeat (see below on losing weight).
- Lifting: The idea is to spread a heavy load over large surface areas, where your joints are the largest and strongest. When lifting or carrying heavy things, use the palms of both of your hands or use your arms instead. Holding items close to your body is less stressful on your joints. If you can, slide heavy items instead of lifting them.
- Sitting and standing: Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. If you must sit for long stretches of time, try taking a break and standing up every half-hour or so.
- Lose some weight: Each extra pound puts four times the stress on your knees. However, losing even a small amount of weight knocks a lot of stress off the knees. Losing 11 pounds not only improves joint health, but it cuts the risk of osteoarthritis in the knees by half.
- Increase your calcium: Yes, it’s true. Calcium makes bones stronger and also reduces the risk of osteoarthritis. In addition to milk, add yogurt, broccoli, kale, figs and salmon to your diet.
Herbal Treatment for Joints
What else can you do? If you’re considering herbs for exercise-induced inflammation relief or joint support, let’s talk about what Ayurveda offers. Boswellia and Turmeric are among the key herbs that can provide support for joints and promote flexibility to sustain them.
The ancient texts of Ayurveda spoke of the Indian Frankincense tree, also known as the Boswellia tree, as one that could promote flexibility, support muscle relaxation and aid joint integrity to promote range of motion. Boswellia’s active ingredient, a crystalized resin, is produced from the expressed bark of the tree. It is sustainably harvested only once a year to keep from harming the tree which can otherwise live for many years, surviving drought and inclement weather.
Himalaya Boswellia supports the body’s normal production of joint fluids and supports the body during periods of exercise-induced inflammation.* It comes in a 100 percent vegetarian capsule and is vegan and gluten-free, with no synthetic additives.
Ayurveda had many names for Turmeric including “that which gives delight to the heart,” but today, it is often called the ultimate superfood. Himalaya’s Turmeric is grown in India to take full advantage of the historical relationship between the plant and its native soil. Researchers have described this plant as a gift from nature supporting the joints, liver, immune system, heart, GI tract and more.
Himalaya Turmeric 95™ is a plant-based Turmeric extract with 95 percent curcuminoids, including curcumin. It promotes circulation and immune activity around the joints and muscles, has a stabilizing effect on the lysosomal membranes to support normal flexibility and movement, supports cellular health and addresses exercise-induced inflammation.* It is Non-GMO Project Verified and vegan, with no wheat, corn, soy or dairy.
Building on the properties of Turmeric and Boswellia, Himalaya CurcuminComplete®, “The Joint Solution,” combines the effective duo of Himalaya Turmeric 95™ and Himalaya JointCare® in a clinically studied daily two-part approach that supports mobility, flexibility and a balanced response.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.