Best Exercises and Food for Knees, Hips and Joints Pain
Achy knees and hips etc. aren't inevitable as we age. And even if yours do already hurt, there are lots you can do to stop them getting worse.
Eat The Right Foods
Top up the omega – 3 oils
Your joints can often feel a bit like a rusty door hinge in need of oiling, and that’s just what you should do for them. So increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating plenty of oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout) or beans and walnuts, if you can’t or don’t eat fish.
An alkaline diet may help, this means eating your greens, also a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of ground ginger and the same of ground turmeric is a great drink to have as soon as you get up. It’s alkaline, cleansing detoxing it and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients that ease aching joints.
Increase the calcium in your diet
We need about 700 micrograms (mcg) of calcium a day for strong, healthy bones. There are good amounts in dairy products, and in green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage; and in fish, such as tinned sardines and pilchards, as we can crunch the bones.
The Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the main function is to help the body absorb calcium. Summer sun is the best source, but although vitamin D can be stored in the body, it is a long time from the end of one summer to the next and winter/spring sunshine might not be strong enough to provide the recommended dose.
Boost your vitamin D by including eggs, oil-rich fish (twice a week) and fortified with vitamin D, as well as calcium, but check the packaging, as some may be loaded with added sugar too. A boiled egg will give you 1.1mcg, 100g salmon 6.8mcg and 140g grilled trout 14.1 mcg.
Ways to Althy Joints: Exercise for Strength
Think low impact
Weight-bearing exercises are great for joints, but if they are high impact, for example – running on hard surfaces, they can be damaging. Instead choose a variety of low-impact exercises, such as cycling, yoga, tai chi, Pilates and swimming.
Focus on your fascia
If you don’t do enough strengthening exercises or are injured, the fascia, a sheet of fibrous tissue just below the skin that supports muscles and bones, can tighten so that muscle movement is restricted. Your muscles will feel sore and painful.
A foam roller is great for softening and releasing tight fascia. Place roller on the tight area and roll in all directions until you find a tender hot spot. Do small, rolling movements over this spot for 30 seconds. Then roll in all directions again until you find the next tender spot.
Technique is key
Even if you don’t want to exercise in the gym, it’s worth booking a session or two to make sure you learn the right technique for your progrmme. If you get it wrong, you risk putting too much pressure on your joints, causing pain and/or injury.
The right shoes
If your shoes don’t give you the support you need, your joints – including those in your feet and ankles, as well as your back, knees and hips – will soon let you know. Too much support won’t help, either, as it will make the foot weaker and more prone to injury. Barefoot running and training shoes, offer less support, which helps the foot and ankle to develop their own natural, muscular support.
Daily flexibility exercises will keep your joints lubricated and make sure your bones, tendons and ligaments are well supplied with nutrients and blood.
Stretching is easy! As soon as you get out of bed, stand by the window and stretch your arms up as high as you can. Hold it for 30 seconds.
Four of the Best Exercises
Strong muscles are key. You need to work the whole muscle system to have mobility and stability around the joints. Do the following exercises every day if you can.
- Hip and Knee strengthener
Stand against a wall and place a gym ball behind your back. Drop your arms down to your sides. Go down into a half-squat, as if you are about it sit in a chair. Keep the ball in contact with your spine the whole time. Go to a level where you feel in control and can come up safely, without wobbling or losing balance.
Do 15 to 20 reps. Take a pause, then repeat, aiming for three or four sets. As strength in your quads (front thigh muscles, which support the knees) and glutes (vital for hip stability) improves, you will be able to squat further down
2. Work the lower back and pelvis
Lie on your back with your heels on as exercise step or on a stair. Knees bent and feet close together, but not touching. Squeeze your lower back, hamstrings (rear thigh muscles) and legs as you raise your body off the ground, until it’s in a straight line from your shoulders to your hips and knees.
Then lower yourself down until you are hovering about half an inch off the ground. Build up to 10-20 reps and aim for three to four sets with short rests in between. Don’t rush it; each rep should take around three seconds.
3. Build upper-body strength
Lie on your left side, holding a weight (1-2kg) in your right hand. Start with your elbow at your waist and your forearm across your body, so the weight is almost on the floor. Then, keeping the elbow still, rotate the arm from the shoulder up through 90⁰, so your knuckles point to the ceiling.
Return to the start and repeat 15-20 times, in a slow, controlled way. Pause, and then do two more sets. Repeat on the other side.
4. Spine and hip stretcher
Kneel on your hands and knees on an exercise mat or folded blanket, to protect the knees. Stretch out your right arm and left leg. Then bend the left knee and bring the right elbow back towards it. Stretch both out again.
Repeat 10 times, and then change sides. Aim for three or four sets of 10 reps on each side.