Skip to main content
£ 0.00
Est. delivery
Order total
£ 0.00

Please enter a promotion code

Sorry, the coupon code you have entered is invalid or has expired.


How to stay flexible, with Dr Hilary Jones

Dr Hilary Jones
Article written by Dr Hilary Jones

Date published 20 March 2024

Find out about the author

Back to article list

Latest articles

Look after your joints and keep doing the things you love for longer. Here are Dr Hilary's top tips for keeping flexible, looking after your cartilage and maintaining collagen levels – the all-important glue that holds the body together.

🕒 3 min read

Flexibility and mobility

The human skeleton has thousands of moving parts, each of which is designed to keep us mobile and flexible.

As children we take this ability for granted, but as we age and our bones and muscles lose their strength, anatomical integrity and elasticity, we lose the ability to touch our toes, play the sports we love or just get out of a chair without grunting.

Most of us have experienced the inconvenience of a cricked neck or a frozen shoulder, and many only realise how important their back is once they have slipped a disc. Lack of mobility and suppleness can seriously impact your quality of life.

By taking steps to maintain flexibility, you are far less likely to suffer such indignities. Here are some simple steps to take.

  • Maintain a healthy weight to take pressure off your joints
  • Take regular low-impact exercise such as swimming, Pilates, yoga or tai chi, to maintain your range of movement, strength and balance.
  • Stretch and warm up before and after exertion to help prevent injury.
  • Consider the role of nutrients and supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, rose hip or marine collagen, which can help prevent deterioration of joint cartilage.
  • Act now and never wait for pain, stiffness and decreased mobility to take hold.

Why cartilage matters

Cartilage is the strong, flexible connective tissue that protects your joints and bones. It's smooth and slippery, coated with a lubricant called synovial fluid, and acts like a shock absorber; especially in the large weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees, and between the back's vertebrae.

Cartilage reduces friction and prevents the ends of bones rubbing together when you use your joints. We only really appreciate the importance of cartilage if it begins to erode or degenerate, or if we suffer an acute injury or some other inflammation or trauma.

Cartilage damage can occur suddenly, or more gradually over the course of your life, as it does in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

As we age, many types of cells begin to degenerate and become weaker, and cartilage is no exception. It dries out and becomes less resilient, and when this happens it results in pain, reduced flexibility, or joints that can barely move at all.

How to help your cartilage

A healthy lifestyle and maintaining a normal weight will always help, but supplements can play a vital role too.

Glucosamine and chondroitin, for example, are integral components of cartilage, and rose hip can inhibit enzymes that cause inflammation. But never wait for symptoms to appear. Steal a march on the ageing process by taking the nutrients you need while you're still flexible and active.

The importance of collagen

Collagen, from the Greek kólla, for glue, is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body.

Collagen is found in bones, cartilage, skin, muscles and tendons. Type II collagen is the predominant variety in cartilage, which helps bones glide easily against one another without pain or inflammation.

Collagen is made up of long chains of tightly bound amino acids. Under the microscope the structure resembles a dense intertwined network of rope-like fibres.

To some extent the body can make its own collagen from nutrients found in meat, bone broth, gelatin, dairy, eggs, legumes and tofu, but as we age the amount of collagen produced in the body declines.

As collagen levels drop, what shows in our faces as wrinkles, fine lines and sagging is reflected in the joints with discomfort, pain, inflammation, stiffness, and reduced flexibility.

The good news is that supplements containing types 1 and 2 collagen can help retain the integrity, elasticity and hydration of the skin, and reduce stiffness in those with joint problems.

Like this article? Share it!

Dr Hilary Jones

About Dr Hilary Jones

Dr Hilary Jones is a GP and Medical Advisor to Healthspan, and the patron of several medical charities, including the Meningitis Research Foundation and London's Air Ambulance. He is currently the Health Editor for Good Morning Britain. Dr. Hilary received an MBE in 2020 for "services to broadcasting, public health information and charity."