Joints and ligaments help us bend, walk, jump, throw and kick by connecting our muscles to our bones. Our joints and ligaments weaken over time because of injury, disease or general wear and tear. Although our lifestyles can add to the wear and tear, it is quite simple to strengthen joints and ligaments with a little exercise and nutritional supplements.
Supplement Your Diet
Eat foods rich in sulfur and amino acids such as asparagus, garlic, eggs, rice and wheat. Sulfur-containing foods and foods rich in amino acids help rebuild bones and connective tissue.
Take an amino acid supplement or amino complex regularly. Glucosamine, for example, is an amino sugar made from glucose, and the amino acid glutamine that can help rebuild joints.
Consume foods or supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as deep sea fish or fish oil capsules. These oils can reduce joint inflammation and increase your joints range of motion.
Lose excess weight to reduce the stress placed on ligaments and joints and to prevent injury. A study published in "Arthritis & Rheumatism" found that each pound loss led to a reduction in knee load equaling 4,800 pounds per mile walked, meaning weight loss takes a significant amount of pressure off your joints.
Perform moderate exercises such as cycling, walking and water aerobics to strengthen the joints and ligaments. MayoClinic.com reports that exercise builds strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain and helps fight fatigue.
Lift weights to strengthen the surrounding bones and muscles that support the joints. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests at least 20 minutes of strength training for all major muscle groups two times per week.
- Severe pain can mean you have a very serious problem. If performing basic functions like bending or walking cause significant pain or if your joints are swollen and inflamed, talk to your doctor to make sure you do not have a sprain or tear. In serious cases, the only way to strengthen or repair joints and ligaments is with surgery. Also talk to your doctor before making drastic changes to your diet and exercise routine or if you have been inactive for a while. Your doctor will help you decide if your joints are strong enough for certain exercises and if your body can tolerate different types of supplements.
- MayoClinic.com: Arthritis: Exercising Helps Ease Arthritis Pain and Stiffness
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
- Arthritis Today: Foods That Fight Inflammation
- Centerse for Disease Control and Prevention: Why Strength Training?
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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