As you enter your 30's, you've probably noticed some undesired "noises" coming from your joints. Perhaps, as you get up and down, you may hear your knees crackling. Or, as you bend and extend your elbows, you may hear popping. As a result, you may be wondering if you are doing more harm to your body because of these noises?
Most likely you are simply discovering the normal wear and tear your body has experienced over the years. I am sure you have heard of the term arthritis? It simply means inflammation of the joint. It may be accompanied with pain, swelling, and decreased ranges of motion. Arthritis comes in many forms and has varying risk factors. Some of the risk factors can be modified and others cannot. For this blog, I am referring mainly to osteoarthritis.
When strength training uses several joints repetitively, pain is likely to develop. For instance, when strengthening your lower body, your usual "go-to" exercises may include: squats, lunges, deadlifts, and hamstring curls. What do all of these exercises have in common? That's right! They share repetitive flexion and extension at the knee joint. Over several years of training, along with your usual daily activities, you are bound to slowly break down the joint and see signs of arthritis.
SO, how do we prevent arthritis? Well, you can't fully prevent it. Gender and genetics play a major role in this disease. Are there habits you can form to limit the progression? YES! Osteoarthritis can be limited with maintaining flexibility and a healthy weight. When muscles surrounding a joint are tight, they tend to pull in certain directions leading to a misalignment of structures and unnecessary wear and tear. That is why stretching is so very important! Another way to limit progress is to maintain a healthy weight so that your joints are not carrying more load than it was designed to.
In conclusion, as we enjoy active lifestyles and age over time, we will inherently experience wear and tear. You should still remain active, incorporate proper form when strength training, and find ways to become more flexible. It will definitely pay off in the future!
Stay happy and healthy,