By Dr. DeLorenzi
Many of the female patients that come into the DeLorenzi Orthopaedic Center (DOC) office have various complaints about multiple joint pains. These women (often in the prime of their lives) have actually felt that they were “older” than their chronological age. Worst of all, their stiff or sore joints have begun to negatively affect their active lifestyles. Their strenuous schedules would make the military proud, consisting of a precise regimen of: getting children ready for/to school, going to their regular job, errands after work and finally coming home at night to care for their families. This daily grocery list of responsibilities often does not include time for them to consider their own personal health and wellness which, in many cases, manifests itself in their joints.
This scenario is not an uncommon story among young and middle aged women in the Space Coast area. Due to their busy lifestyle, women in the age range of 35-55 generally have many constraints to proper exercise and their own health, not to mention the ever-changing nature of the female body. The human body has multiple joints, large and small alike — shoulder, knee, ankle, fingers and elbows. These joints, in combination with muscles and ligaments, are meant to move quickly and efficiently. All of these parts working in tandem give you the ability to lift up your kids, walk the dog or stroll on the beach. As we age, the human joints begin to wear down; this natural process is known as degeneration. Typically, as we see a loss of cartilage and fluids in the joints, our patients begin to feel that stiff sore feeling more prominently.
Here are some suggestions:
1) Take a female multivitamin each day. With the modernization of the food industry our daily intake is often lacking key vitamins and minerals that are essential for our bodies to function correctly. A multivitamin will help fill in the nutritional gaps that often accompany a fast paced lifestyle.
2) Stay hydrated. In Florida we are all at risk of dehydration; often we are in a perpetual state of lack when it comes to fluids in our sunbathed bodies. Try keeping a bottle of water with you throughout the day – if you don’t like plain water try seltzer with some fruit slices.
3) Joint health is an offensive game. A healthy regiment of glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate supplements each day will help maintain water content in joint cartilage and can slow joint degeneration.
4) Exercise. Walk, run, roller blade, ride a bike, or swim for a total of 20-30 minutes, per day. New exercise routines are always fun at first but over time they lose their luster. To keep you interested, try and do something you really enjoy or work the activity into your favorite hobby, maybe bring a friend.
5) Maintain an appropriate weight for your body type. We all have different body types, however, our joints are all pretty similar that is why it is so important to maintain a healthy weight. For every extra pound of weight our body acquires, you increase joint pressures on the hip and knee joint by a factor of three times.
We know what you are thinking. “With my schedule, how am I going to fit all of this into my day?” The truth of the matter is that the above is really simple to work into that busy schedule — keep the multivitamins and supplements at your desk, take the stairs or park your car a little farther from the front door for some added exercise, and as always eat a healthy diet consisting of lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. Before you know it, some of these small routine changes will become second nature and your joints will thank you for it in the long run!
Remember, your mobility is directly related to joint health so exercise regularly and keep a healthy diet and you will feel a difference from the inside out.
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