Celebrity fitness and nutrition specialist Harley Pasternak, author of "5-Factor Fitness" and its highly anticipated follow-up book, "5-Factor Diet," has worked with Hollywood's biggest starts, including Halle Berry, Eva Mendes, Jessica Simpson, Kanye West, Orlando Bloom and Mandy Moore. Here's his advice to help keep joints working and pain-free:
As we age, a common ailment is joint pain and inflammation, otherwise known as arthritis. About 46 million American adults (about 1 in 5) have some form of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and many of these people have chronic pain that limits their daily activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability, due to the daily limitations arthritic people have due to the disease.
One risk factor for arthritis is being overweight and obese, due to the added strain excess weight puts on the joints. According to a new study in the International Journal of Obesity, men and women who had a history of being overweight or obese during young and middle adulthood (ages 25 to 50), were more likely to have physical disabilities in late adulthood (ages 70 to 79) than those who were normal weight when they were younger. Other causes include wear and tear on the joints over time due to sports, physical work, and loss of muscle strength. Whatever the cause of arthritis, there are things people can do to reduce their risk of developing arthritis and manage their arthritis if it already exists.
Maintain a healthy weight
Extra weight puts added strain on the joints, which can lead to joint pain, and eventually arthritis. It has been shown that extra pound of weight a person carries on his or her body is like five extra pounds on the knees and hips, which means that if you are 20 pounds overweight, your body has 100 extra pounds to carry.
In a recent national health survey, over a third of people with arthritis reported that they do not get any exercise, most probably because they complain of pain when they move. However, it is known that exercise can help people with arthritis and other joint pain. Not only does exercise help to control weight, it also helps muscles develop and become stronger, improve range of motion, and improve balance and mobility by reducing stiffness.Therefore, staying reasonably active and in shape can help prevent joint pain and injury, and decrease any pre-existing pain.
Choose the right workout
People with joint pain need to avoid high-impact exercises or ones that require sudden movements, such as running, stair climbing, and playing tennis. Instead, they should try lower-impact exercises that are easier on their joints. There are three types of exercises that are best for people with arthritis:
1. Range of Motion exercises, which help maintain or increase flexibility. These exercises can be as basic as flexing your fingers or toes.
2. Strengthening exercises, specifically weight training, to increase muscle strength.
3. Aerobic or endurance exercises, such as swimming, walking, or doing the elliptical trainer.
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Take it slow
Being physically active doesn¹t mean you have to spend an hour on a machine, and an hour lifting weights. Especially if you have never exercised before or haven¹t in a long time, it is important that you start slowly, building up to a more advanced level. I (Harley) suggest starting with five minutes, and working your way to 25 minutes a day, five days a week.
Protect yourself, but check with the doctor first
Before you spend money on items advertised to protect your joints like braces, creams, supplements, and medications, check with your doctor. He or she is the best guide as to what will help you the most.
Make the right movements
Whether or not you already have joint pain, it is important that you use proper posture and techniques to do some basic activities. For example, if you are lifting heavy boxes off the floor, don¹t bend forward from the hips with your legs straight or allow your back to curve. Instead, squat down, bending at the hips and knees with your back straight. This will prevent you from hurting your back, hips, and knees. (To see how to properly squat, visit www.5factordiet.com)
Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet
While some foods have been touted as cure-alls for arthritis, it is important to eat a variety of foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain carbohydrates, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats, such as fatty fish and mono- and polyunsaturated oils, such as olive, canola, and fish oil.
Make sure to eat enough foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D
Both of these nutrients will help to strengthen bones and muscles, and some studies have shown that they also help with weight control. Low-fat dairy is a great source of both of these nutrients.
For more information on a healthy diet, weight loss, and easy and quick exercises, visit www.5factordiet.com.