Move Like a Champ Forever: The Ultimate Guide To Strong Joints

Move Like a Champ Forever: The Ultimate Guide To Strong Joints

Whether you’re crushing PRs at the gym or chasing after energetic toddlers, your joints and bones quietly take a beating so you can show up for life’s physical demands. But have you ever considered how to repay them for all their hard work?

Joints are intricate structures where two or more bones meet. These hinges support your movement, and supporting them is the key to maintaining physical longevity. After all, there’s no room in your busy schedule for sore joints — not now and definitely not when you’re enjoying your active retirement.

So, let’s dive into some science-backed tips to take care of these champions of movement and keep your bones and joints in their best condition.

6 Tips for Supple, Strong Joints That Won’t Quit

Maintaining and improving joint strength may enhance your athletic performance and preserve your long-term mobility. Follow these tips to reach those goals:

1. Stretch for at Least 10 Minutes a Day

Stretching is a staple for healthier joints. Regular stretching helps lengthen and loosen your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints to increase joint flexibility and your range of motion.

Skip the static stretches (where you hold a position for a while) in favor of dynamic stretching, which involves gentle, controlled movements. Think: arm circles, leg swings, lunges, seated twists, etc. These warm up and prepare your muscles for working out or tackling your busy to-do list. They can also ease tight muscles and stiff joints.

2. Spare Time For Low-Impact Physical Activity

There’s a reason they say a body in motion stays in motion (several, actually). Exercise stimulates cells responsible for building and maintaining strong bones and joints. It also increases blood flow, sending essential nutrients to your cartilage and tissues for repair. Regular movement also triggers the production of synovial fluid, which cushions your joints, prevents them from getting stiff, and ensures smooth movements

But how you move matters here. So swap high-impact aerobics like running and kickboxing for low-impact exercises that take the weight off and lubricate your joints, strengthen supporting muscles, and improve flexibility. These exercises keep the gears in your body running like a well-oiled supermachine — and they’re backed by science:

Swimming. The water’s buoyancy supports healthy joints while providing resistance for muscle strengthening. Swimming is thought to decrease knee pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis (a common type of joint degeneration) while boosting functional capacity.

Cycling. Physical therapy studies show that stationary cycling reduces the load on knee joints and improves range of motion.

Yoga.You can use different yoga poses to target different joints, customizing a beginner to advanced routine based on your needs. Yoga improves joint pain, flexibility, muscle strength, and mobility, decreases stress and tension, and promotes better balance.

Pilates. Like yoga, the controlled movements in pilates are designed to be gentle on joints, alleviate pressure and pain, and encourage core strength, stability, and flexibility.

3. Incorporate More Joint Strength Training

Building strong muscles isn’t just about aesthetics (although that’s certainly a perk!). Think of it like building a sturdy castle wall. The stronger the walls (your muscles and connective tissues), the better protected the treasures within (your joints).

Muscles hold your joints in proper alignment and take the stress off the joints themselves. They also help slow or prevent cartilage and joint degeneration. That’s why studies show resistance training effectively decreases joint pain and enhances physical function.

You can either lift weights, use resistance bands, or work with your own body weight to build lean muscle mass with moves like:

  • Squats and lunges.These classic exercises strengthen your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core, all of which contribute to better balance and hip and knee stability.
  • Rows and overhand presses.These moves strengthen your back muscles, shoulders, and triceps to improve posture and shoulder stability.
  • Planks.This isometric exercise engages your entire core (abs, obliques, and lower back), which is crucial for spinal support.

Consider practicing these with a certified trainer or physical therapist to ensure you follow proper form and prevent injuries.

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight and Good Posture

Carrying around extra weight strains your knees, back, feet, and hips, increasing the risk of joint problems and joint replacements. Good news? Losing just one pound of weight is equivalent to removing four pounds of pressure from your knees — and reaching a modest 10-pound weight loss goal would relieve 40 pounds of pressure!

Similarly, maintaining good posture keeps your body in proper alignment, so you evenly distribute stress across your joints. To improve your posture, always stand tall with your shoulders back and relaxed. Use an ergonomic chair at work with proper back support; keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle with your feet flat on the floor. And avoid crossing your legs, which may cause misalignment in your hips and spine.

✈️ Read these tips to maintain solid posture and end the travel aches and pains too!

5. Feed Your Joints Right

Your diet also has a big impact on your joint health. So try to prioritize eating more:

Healthy fats. Avocados, nuts, seeds, and omega-3 fatty acids (from fatty fish or fish oil) lubricate joints and reduce inflammation that contributes to joint pain.

Antioxidant-rich foods. Antioxidants fight off free radicals to lower inflammation and support the overall health of your tissues and bones. Look for brightly-colored fruits and veggies, such as berries, citrus fruits, and leafy greens. Coffee also contains several different antioxidants.

6. Give Your Joints a Helping Hand with Supplements

A healthy diet and active lifestyle should be your primary priorities when nourishing your joint health. However, science says you may also want to consider these supplements for additional support:

Glucosamine and chondroitin. These naturally occurring compounds are the building blocks of joints and cartilage (to help cushion your joints). Studies suggest they help reduce pain and improve movement in people with osteoarthritis.

Vitamin D. This essential vitamin supports calcium absorption, a vital component of joint and bone health. Calcium and vitamin D intake preserve bone density and strength as you age, which is crucial considering that 54 million Americans are estimated to have osteoporosis or low bone density — and 50% of women over 50 will break a bone due to that fact. Nosh more vitamin D from fatty fish, egg yolks, dairy products, kale, and broccoli.

Collagen. The most abundant protein in our body, you’ll find collagen in your bones, cartilage, connective tissues, and more. Unfortunately, our body’s collagen production naturally declines as we age. Having less collagen means more joint pain and stiffness. Bright side? Studies show that people with osteoarthritis who supplemented with collagen peptides significantly lowered inflammation, prevented bone density loss, and improved their joint stiffness, pain, and overall symptoms.

Psst! Sneak collagen into your diet with The Good Stuff™ or The Good Stuff Focus and sip your way to happy joints!

Vitamin C. Not only a powerful antioxidant in its own right, vitamin C also helps activate collagen production. Get your fill from citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

FYI: Always speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.

Say Sayonara To Sore Joints 💪

But consistency is key to maintaining your joint health. So try to make these diet and exercise tips part of your daily routine. Then, your consistent effort will reward you with supple, flexible joints, extraordinary physical performance, and years of pain-free movement.

Written by Lauren Ciccarelli, a writer and research geek passionate about low-carb nutrition, mental health, and meditation. Her 2,500+ articles empower doers with science-backed tips for leveled-up living.

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