This week is Bone and Joint Action Week (12-20th October) raising awareness of the importance of good musculoskeletal health, considered by many experts to be one of the most widespread health issues of our generation1.
The impact of ageing on joint health
Healthy bones and joints are integral to maintaining mobility and pursuing active lifestyles as we get older – the foundation of all-round wellbeing. However, as we age bone density decreases and protective cartilage begins to deteriate2. 17 million people in the UK have a joint and musculoskeletal condition1, known to be the biggest cause of disability and pain across the UK1,3, and accounting for 20% of visits to the GP4. The most common of these is osteoarthritis.
Dr Alastair Dickson, GP and Health Economist with a special interest in musculoskeletal health, sees first-hand the impact of increasing joint health conditions amongst his patients, stating;
“Persistent joint pain often results from more chronic processes related to trauma and wear and tear, such as osteoarthritis, with symptoms becoming more common as you get older, especially beyond your mid-forties. The incidence of musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoarthritis, is increasing at such an alarming rate that it is set to affect three times more of us than cancer by 20305, so urgent steps need to be taken to protect the mobility and wellbeing of an ageing population.”
Julie Robinson is an expert in retaining good health in later life. An optimal ageing expert and founder of the evidence-based and nationally recognised fitness initiative, Move It or Lose it, Julie has over 10 years of experience working with people struggling with joint health conditions.
Julie says; “The majority of people that we see at Move it or Lose it are dealing with some form of joint pain or stiffness, for example osteoarthritis, caused by the gradual wear and tear of joint tissues over time. However, whilst 25% of our health is predicted to be down to our genes, 75% is a result of lifestyle choices5, giving you the power to shape your wellbeing at any age.”
What can we do to maintain healthy joints?
With joint health conditions on the rise, and a year of inactivity, gym closures and weight gain exacerbating symptoms for many as a result of the pandemic, experts are calling for a preventative approach to joint care. This includes an increasingly holistic strategy, such as the encouragement of daily exercise alongside clinically-backed supplementation.
Dr Alastair Dickson recommends early intervention; “Accessing advice on ways to manage and treat osteoarthritis is best done early, or at the first signs of joint pain or stiffness felt in the mornings, with chemists, first contact physiotherapists as well as GPs able to give you advice on self-management and treatment options. Self-management options might include keeping mobile through daily exercise, losing weight, over the counter medications and some supplements.”
Rather than waiting to combat the debilitating symptoms of joint health conditions, proactive lifestyle changes taken throughout adulthood can delay and even prevent the onset of arthritic conditions. Starting with simple adjustments, as suggested by expert Julie Robinson;
“Because arthritic conditions increase in prevalence as we age, affecting 50% of adults over 656, there are substantial health benefits to adding natural anti-inflammatory ingredients to your diet, specifically those that are supported by robust clinical research, such as GOPO® Joint Health Plus Ginger, which can support optimal joint health7-14.”
“If struggling to get moving, low-impact exercises, such as Pilates or seated movements with a resistance band, can still make a big difference. Many people have found that the addition of these simple lifestyle changes can delay the need for joint health interventions, whilst having a profound impact on their quality of life in the meantime“
There is no better time to implement these healthy lifestyle changes than this Bone and Joint Action Week, taking control of your future joint health today.
Here are Julie Robinson’s top lifestyle hacks for all ages, safeguarding your joint health for years to come:
- Pace Yourself – staying active doesn’t need to mean running marathons. Whilst there is no limit to your goals, even a daily walk or seated exercises can play an important role in keeping muscles strong and joints limber.
- Mix it up: Try to aim for a mix of strength, stretching and balance exercises throughout the week, alongside daily walks or exercise classes, to benefit your all-round wellbeing. The Move it or Lose it online club has a range of varied routines to keep it fresh.
- Stamp down inflammation: incorporating supplements with anti–inflammatory properties can help to kerb the harmful effects of inflammation, known to accelerate the ageing process. The rosehip compound GOPO®, and ginger extracts, are clinically backed to reduce joint inflammation and help protect joint tissues7-15, both found within GOPO® Joint Health Plus Ginger.
- Watch the clock: Set a timer to remind yourself to get up and move often throughout the day. With so much of our lives spent sitting down, it’s important to break up the day with exercise little and often to keep your blood flowing to your joints and muscles.