Woman's World

Ask America’s Ultimate Experts

Nearly 26% of us have some form of arthritis or joint pain, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Thankfully, our experts reveal several easy ways you can protect your joints!

- —Kristina Mastrocola

1 Motion is lotion!

There’s a saying in medicine that motion is lotion for your joints. And there’s plenty of proof: “Studies on healthy folks have shown that when you immobilize a joint in a sling for six weeks, symptoms similar to rheumatoid arthritis are triggered,” reveals arthritis expert Barbara Allan. “Unlike muscles, joints don’t have circulatio­n, so the only way to flush out the inflammati­on that causes pain is to move. Stretching or getting up to take short walks every hour or so can help lubricate joints and keep them healthy.”

Three moves to do in 10 minutes!

● Protect hip joints with “tummy time!” “Tight muscles often create misaligned joints,” notes Joseph H. Tieri, M.D. The cure? A few easy movements you can do in 10 minutes to realign your joints, he says. First up: Just lie down on your tummy! “When we sit for a long time, our hip flexor muscles tighten up, which can trigger pain in our hip joints,” Dr. Tieri explains. “Just lying down on your stomach and resting your head on your hands in front of you helps lengthen and stretch your back, taking pressure off your hips. If you can, come up a little bit onto your elbows.” ● Protect shoulder joints by opening wide! “Most tasks involving the shoulders cause us to lean forward, rounding the shoulders and causing joint pain,” says Dr. Tieri. The fix? Lie flat on your back, and place a rolled-up towel along the length of your spine to prop up your trunk and rest your head. Extend your arms at your sides like a “T”. “This gentle stretch helps correct the constant creeping forward of the shoulders.”

● Protect knee joints with squats! “Strong leg muscles help support the knee joint, but after about age 45 those muscles become 1% weaker each year,” says Dr. Tieri. Walking up slight hills and taking the stairs can help by strengthen­ing your thighs. Or simply squat your way stronger! Standing in front of a chair with your hips shoulder-width apart, lower your body as if you’re about to sit, making sure your knees don’t extend past your big toe.

2 Take these! Mussel up!

One super potent source of joint-protecting Omega-3s? Green-lipped mussels, native to New Zealand, reveals Allan. They’re especially rich in a type of omega-3 that targets the chemicals that trigger joint pain. One option: Food Science of Vermont Sea Mussel, $20 at Swansonvit­amins.com. (Do not take if allergic to shellfish.)

Pop the “pineapple” pill!

One supplement that seems especially effective at promoting joint health is bromelain, a unique set of enzymes found in pineapples, Dr. Tieri says. Not only does it help tame inflammati­on, it’s shown to improve flexibilit­y and mobility in patients with both rheumatoid and osteoarthr­itis. One option: Source Naturals Bromelain; $8.25, Gnc.com.

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