How does moving keeps your joints healthy? It is really very simple....
First, let’s make sure everyone knows what a joint is. It is where two bones meet, the most common or well known joints being the most used ones, such as elbow, ankle, shoulder, knee, etc. Everyone knows that joints are lined with cartilage, and it is cartilage, along with its lubricating fluid, that keeps the bones moving past one another smoothly during movements.
Now...the body is saturated by fluid. When this fluid is in the blood, it is known as blood plasma. When it moves out of the blood and into the surrounding tissues, it is known as interstitial fluid. So what.... Well, it is this fluid that carries all the nutrients that keep our tissues and organs healthy, including joint cartilage. Now think of cartilage like a sponge, as it is used or squeezed, it causes the old fluid inside it to be pushed out, and then new fluid, rich in nutrients, is sucked up into it. This movement of fluid in and out of the cartilage caused by movement is what keeps the cartilage healthy. Movement also keep the ligaments and tendons around that joint healthy in the same way, and fully mobile and stretched out, allowing a full range of motion for that joint. The movement that I am talking about is all types, from just using your joints in activities of every day life, to specific exercise.
Pressure on a joint can have quite an effect. Think about the cartilage being similar to a sponge, allowing the fluid with nutrients to be squeezed out and pulled in during movement. If a joint has too much pressure on it, the release of pressure never occurs and therefore the amount of new fluid being pulled into the cartilage diminishes proportionally to the amount of pressure placed upon it. Excess body weight is the most common reason for excess pressure on a joint, and the reason for most of the degenerative joint disease that occurs. This would occur in the joints most affected by gravity, such as hips, knees and lower back. Most of us grew up thinking that arthritis occurs as cartilage is "ground away" between the bones as they rubbed together, but that does not happen at all. As pressure is constantly being applied to cartilage and no new fluid with nutrients enters it, it simply dies off slowly, and little bit at a time. Injury to a particular joint can also cause a predisposition to this dying off of cartilage, or degeneration, but is not quite as common. This phenomenon occurs in the spinal discs as well. As pressure is placed on them, they degenerate and become thinner, and this is why the bones of the spine look closer together on x-ray.
Therefore, it is easy to see how simply movement and keeping your weight down can promote long, and healthy joint life. And allow us to be those awesome 80 year olds that are still moving well without pain..........So get moving!!! If you have any questions on this, please reply on email or phone or text me.
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