Protect Your Joints: Nutrition and Post-Workout Joint Repair Tips

JOINT PAIN IS A COMMON PROBLEM WITH ATHLETES

Bodybuilding 101 tells you to consume protein after a workout to help build muscle. That’s good information, but it is time to Turn it Up!TM and incorporate a good pre- and post-workout joint health and repair regimen into your fitness program.

Joint pain is a common problem faced by strength trainers, runners and other athletes. However, it is hardly ever talked about in fitness circles. There are countless protein supplements on the market and fitness magazines constantly talk about muscle repair and recovery and energy drinks. Rarely is joint health and repair mentioned even though joint problems can derail workout regimens and even kill athletic careers, if not addressed.

COMMON CAUSES AND DIAGNOSIS FOR JOINT PAIN

During a workout your joints are in continuous use. They are stressed with curls, pushes and lunges. They take a pounding with running, box jumps and aerobic classes. Without a thoughtful joint protection and recovery plan the results of all the pushing, curling, lunging, jumping and pounding is joint pain. Joint pain can be caused by a number of things.

Here are few common diagnoses for joint pain of athletes and physical fitness enthusiast.

1. Arthritis – Arthritis is a general term that refers to inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis among athletes. It occurs when there is a wear and tear on the joints and a deterioration of the cartilage at the ends of the bones, causing friction and pain.

2. Bursitis – In our joints there are small fluid-filled sacks called bursae. These can get inflamed or injured. The bursae’s job is to assist in the muscle/joints movement by cushioning the joints and bones against friction.  When they get inflamed or injured that function is compromised.

3. Tendonitis – Tendons around a joint get extremely inflamed from overuse.  This is probably the most common cause of pain athletes.

If you are experiencing chronic pain, you should have it diagnosed by a licensed health professional.

AVOIDANCE AND RELIEF OF JOINT PAIN

In order to help protect your joints you have first to recognize that your joints are important players and require protection. Think about your joints before, during and after workouts. Most joint problems fall in the category of inflammation-related problems and disease. Remove the inflammation and you will reduce or eliminate the problem.

JOINT HEALTH WORKOUT TIPS

Here are a few things that can help protect your joints during a workout:

1. Do a proper joint warmup. Incorporate joint rotation into your warmup.  Include knees, ankles, wrist, elbow, shoulders and hips. Click here for a joint mobility drill.

2. Cool down at the end of a workout to avoid tight muscles and joints. Arthritis becomes more probable when joints are tight.

3. Take time off between workouts to allow your joints to recuperate from heavy workouts.

4. Focus on proper form when performing exercises. It is better to do 5 right than 50 wrong.

5. Stay hydrated. Drink water, before, during and after workouts. Water helps to lubricate the joints. Good hydration has been shown to relieve joint pain in 80% of the suffers.

POST WORKOUT JOINT TEA

Try turmeric tea as a post-workout drink. I like to make my teas in batches. Here is my formula:

Boil 4 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon of organic turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of organic ginger extract or ginger powder and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and sweetened to taste with raw agave or honey. Strain off turmeric and ginger.

Note: The ginger helps with the absorption of the turmeric. I heard that black pepper also works in place of the ginger.

Refrigerate and warm a cup at a time on a low to medium flame.  Don’t use a microwave; it may change the healing properties.

For joint maintenance, drink the tea after workouts. If you are already experiencing pain, drink 2 to 4 cups a day.

DAILY NUTRITION FOR HEALTHIER JOINTS

Make Green Tea a part of your routine, it has great anti-inflammatory qualities. (Use a good quality tea and steep with water slightly below boiling).

Eat more foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as green leafy vegetables and fruits. Blueberries and strawberries are great fruits to eat because they are loaded with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants. In addition, include nuts, beans, soy and whole grains. If you eat meats, choose fish and lean poultry.

At the same time, reduce foods that contribute to inflammation. Try cutting down on red and processed meats, fast foods (bad fats), sugary foods, eggs (unless they are Omega-3 enhance eggs) and dairy.

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