Are you suffering from joint pain? Whether chronic or occasional, acute or mild, most of us experience joint pain at some point in life. Common joint pain often stems from ligament/tendon strains and tears, over or under use of supporting muscles, degradation of cartilage and arthritis Though joint pain may be persistent and even aggressive, there are many things we can do to alleviate it. Establish Good Posture Standing tall is key. Poor posture places undue pressure on joints. To make it simple, think of your body as a ladder with seven rungs stacked evenly on top of each other, meaning level and not twisted: 1. Feet to Base of Pelvic Floor: Feet must be straight with all ten toes facing forward and heels behind the second and third toes 2. Pelvic Bowl: Must sit neutrally on top of legs (neither tilted forward nor back) 3. Core: Must sit evenly on top of pelvis and be firm drawing in and up 4. Ribs, Arms, Shoulders: Ribs must stack evenly and straight over core, arms hang relaxed, shoulders remain straight and also relaxed 5. Neck: Must sit directly between the shoulders and neither in front of nor in back of the torso (chin jutting out or pulling in too much) 6. Head: Must be straight side to side and neither in front of nor in back of the neck 7. Crown of Head rises toward ceiling   Get Strong When done correctly and safely, strength training helps us keep our weight off our joints during normal activities of daily living. Abdominal and core exercises, free body exercises (i.e. squats, cherry pickers), machines, dumb bells and yoga are all extremely effective to establishing, maintaining and restoring joint health. Make sure you have proper guidance.   Be Flexible Flexibility is highly underrated in our world. Just because you exercise and eat well, does not mean you are in great shape. Flexibility is as important as cardio health and nutrition when it comes to healthy joints. Flexibility gives us the range of motion we need to move through normal activities of daily living and of course sports with a lower risk to our joints. It also allows for more space in the joints yielding proper circulation of fluid and the smooth flow of energy through them.   Lose Weight Excess weight is one of the worst things for joint health. If you are more than 10 pounds overweight, lose it before you put on even more. Extra weight is detrimental to joint health. Our joints were only designed to bear a certain amount of weight and when we overload them, they begin to degrade. Weight loss requires that you go on a nutritious diet that you establish with your doctor (low carb, whole foods, no refined sugar, low sodium, and low-fat are all great guidelines to follow).   Keep Moving Being sedentary is one of the worst things for joint health. The phrase “if you don’t use it, you lose it” applies to joint health as much as to anything. You must keep your joints mobile to avoid stiffness. The best thing you can do for your joints is to incorporate daily short routines that move the joints in multiple ways and directions. For example, in the least, take 2 minutes a day to perform arm circles, hip circles, leg extensions and kicks and wrist rotations. I believe properly done yoga with correct alignment is one of the best things we can do to keep our joints healthy because it helps align our bones properly, strengthens all of the supporting muscles and ligaments, and most of all, incorporates an endless number of creative ways in which to move the body.   Eat Right Proper nutrition is essential for all aspects of health, joint health included. We must nourish our joints with the correct nutrients to keep them healthy. You can get into the specifics but as long as you’re eating a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and some protein, you should be in good shape.   Treat Your Bones Well Just like we need to keep our muscles strong for joint health, we also need to do the same with our bones. Our bones support our joints, so the moment they begin to degrade, so will the joints. Calcium and vitamin D are necessary to acquire through food and sun to keep your bones healthy. In addition,  weight lifting and exercise strengthens our muscles, and according to Wolff’s law, strong muscles stimulate bone growth. So, stronger muscles yield stronger bones, which yield healthier joints!   Joint health is no big secret. It comes down to three key points: being strong, active, and eating well. The JWM offers fitness and yoga educational programs as well as meal plans and recipes online for the beginner to the advanced student all geared toward this kind of healthy living! Become a member of the JWM here and begin to establish a lifetime of healthy joints.