‘If you have joint problems you may think moving about will make things worse, but exercise can ease stiffness, relieve pain, increase movement and improve stability by strengthening muscles, as well as improving overall fitness and mood,’ says GP Dr Tom Margham from Arthritis Research UK.
You should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week– around 30 minutes per day – or more. Opt for a combination of joint-friendly aerobic activities – such as swimming, aqua-aerobics, walking, low impact dance, tai chi and cycling, and resistance work (lifting weights or using weights machines at the gym), as well as stretching in the form of yoga or Pilates.
For more ideas visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
‘A healthy diet is a must-have to keep your joints flexible and strong,’ says dietitian Helen Bond. ‘Make sure you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables which are full of vitamins and minerals. They are also low in calories which will help you maintain a healthy weight which will also ease the strain on your joints.’
Berries are full of antioxidants that may help reduce joint inflammation and pain, while oily fish, such as herring, mackerel and sardines, all contain essential omega 3 fatty acids to fight inflammation, joint pain and stiffness. Flaxseeds and oil, rapeseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts can all help top up those omega 3 stores too.
Pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts are high in antioxidants and copper which help to support connective tissue.
‘The best supplements to help you stay flexible are omega 3 fish oils, which help to reduce inflammation and ‘oil’ your joints from the inside,’ says Dr Sarah Brewer. ‘Krill oil provides additional antioxidants for extra benefit,’ she adds.
Studies show that when taken together, glucosamine and chondroitin (glucosamine hydrochloride 1500mg, plus chondroitin sulphate 1200mg daily) can more than halve symptoms of pain, stiffness, swelling and joint effusions in knee osteoarthritis after six months’ treatment.
Try Healthspan's Glucosamine & Chondroitin Optiflex Liquid to help ward off stiffness and to aid flexibility. Devil’s claw extracts, on the other hand, can also significantly improve osteoarthritis and general rheumatic pain and stiffness, as well as back pain.