health, pain, arthritis

Despite what many people think arthritis isn’t just a disease that only old people suffer. Did you know nearly one in five Australians are affected by arthritis with more women than men suffering from symptoms? Nature’s Own dietitian and exercise physiologist, Kate Save shares her top nutrition and exercise tips to support and strengthen joints.

Omega-3 is key: Foods rich in Omega-3 fats have been proven to help reduce inflammation. Good sources of Omega-3 include oily fish such as sardines, tuna and salmon, canola oil, ground linseed and walnuts. Additionally, consider taking a good quality fish oil supplement.

A colourful, antioxidant rich diet: Fill your plate with a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables every day to enrich your diet with antioxidants. A healthy balanced diet will not only ensure you meet your daily nutritional requirements but also help maintain a healthy weight to reduce the impact of arthritis on joints.

Supplements: A glucosamine and chondroitin supplement may be beneficial for temporarily reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis, increasing mobility and protecting against further cartilage breakdown. Glucosamine is one of the building blocks of cartilage naturally produced by the body. Chondroitin is also a natural substance found in the body which helps draw water and nutrients into the cartilage.

Tai Chi: is a gentle type of exercise involving smooth, flowing movements to help improve the flow of life energy (traditionally known as “Qi”), increases muscle strength in the lower body, and improves balance and posture and is suitable for most people to practice on a daily basis.

Pilates: strengthens and lengthens muscles through eccentric contractions, recommended 1-2 sessions per week for improved core stability to assist with balance, flexibility and overall strength, not suitable for all people, seek advice from an exercise physiologist or physiotherapists.

Hydrotherapy and water based exercise: popular amongst professional athletes who often look to hydrotherapy to help maintain strong blood flow around the body, the warmth and buoyancy of the water helps to loosen joints and muscles, and alleviate weight from painful joints, water-based exercise promotes freer movement than on land, and is suitable for people who can only do limited land-based training on a daily basis.

Strength Training: increases muscle strength to help support joints and builds bone strength to improve balance, seek professional exercise prescription from an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist for resistance band exercises or gym-based weights program, recommended 2-3 times per week for those who deemed suitable.

Low impact cardio: important for maintaining weight and the health of your heart and blood vessels, low-impact exercises which increase your heart rate such as walking and bike riding are recommended for all people with osteoarthritis on a daily basis for 30-60 minutes

What are your top tips for managing joint pain?