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Many people experience joint-related problems, whether they are aware of it or not. Typically the cause is poor usage.
Bad habits cultivated over years distort the skeleton and force the body to operate with bad alignment.
Mobility is crucial. We move our bodies all the time. Joints facilitate movement. Good joint health equals ease of movement.
Being overweight is a problem when it comes to joint health. The excess fat causes the skeleton to support a mass that is putting strain on the organism.
Compensation takes place. Muscular tension ensues.
Eat a healthy diet. Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol and nicotine. Do some research?
It is easy to say that exercise will help the joints but this is not necessary true. As a statement this is too vague and misleading.
Some types of exercise are good for the body, some are not. Also, which exercise is appropriate for you? For your specific body and condition of health/fitness?
How you exercise is as important as the type of exercise... Avoid overtaxing the body.
Body building and weight lifting
are fashionable activities today. The emphasis is upon developing external
muscles which creates an armouring effect that can eventually distort the bony
structure. It is the over developed musculature that actually torque's the bones
and discourages them from bearing additional weight. The body attempts to
compensate and problems arise.
Running does not necessarily in and of itself improve posture that is already poor and constricted. It often exaggerates problems due to the substitution of inappropriate muscles. The repetitive inappropriate development of the musculature (as in body building or weight lifting) often leads to diminished sensitivity. Stress occurs in the knees and lower back, encouraging injury.
Swimming is an activity that can either create structural problems or release them depending upon the way it is taught and practiced. Professional swimmers are known to develop shoulder tendonitis and kyphosis. Overriding head/neck righting reflexes (as occurs when the head is repeatedly turned but the body does not follow) eventually result in overdeveloping shoulder muscles, pinching nerves and distorting the rib cage.
Various sport activities emphasize strength, endurance and speed. Development of muscle control rather than skeletal balance takes precedence. Gaining speed at the expense of mounting tension, is too often the goal.
Many people like to have tense muscles. They are seen to be aesthetically appealing. Yet, tense muscles lock the joints and impede natural, healthy skeletal use.
Joint health requires toned, mobile, strong, supportive muscles... not tense ones.
Stretching the body is good when the purpose is exercise. When lifting a heavy object or when engaged in combat, stretching in not a good idea.
The problem with stretching at the wrong time is that it puts stress on the body, reduces stability and prevents freedom of movement.
A stretched joint cannot rotate and turn comfortably. It is vulnerable to injury.
The human skeleton can easily be aligned in a manner that works constructively with gravity. Rather than fight against gravity or crumple, we want our bodies to feel light, mobile and strong.
It is essential to remain balanced at all times and to recognise that balance is not static but changing.
Range & reach
Most people can feel when they are reaching too far. They may ignore it or they may withdraw the limb and step closer.
The problem with ignoring the body is that there is an optimal range for functionality. Work within that optimal range and your joints will be healthier. Exceed it and they are weak.
We use our bodies continually so functionality is a major concern at all times. Our aim is to be capable of physically performing whatever tasks the mind devises.
This may not always be possible (e.g. dance Swan Lake) but within reason our body should be responsive.
One impediment to good body use is our degree of awareness. In our information-saturated, over-stimulated culture, a lot of people have extremely poor presence.
Their minds are preoccupied and they are not paying attention to the here and now. Spacing out can lead to bad habits of body use.
When it comes to their bodies, most people possess a wide range of bad habits. These are so ingrained and familiar that they feel quite normal.
People stoop, yet feel to be upright. They over-reach but feel to be close enough. One shoulder is up and one is down.
Listen to your body
Bad knees, back ache, stiff neck, soreness, pain. Many adults experience these things. What do they do about it? Ignore it.
People tend to ignore what their body is telling them because it is familiar (a habit) and/or dealing with the problem is usually inconvenient. It upsets the status quo.
Arms back problems feet hands joint health Knees legs shoulders
18 April 1995
Last updated 30 March 2018