overhead shot of ginger, turmeric and vitamin pills on a blue background

Supplements for Healthy Joints

There are tons of ways to help yourself maintain flexibility and balance in life! Exercising, eating the right foods, getting enough rest, stretching out, and practicing meditation are all good methods if flexibility is your goal. Another way to help your body is with vitamins. Below are three supplements we think will help you on your quest towards a more flexible life.

TURMERIC
Turmeric is an ancient spice used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine. It is an attractive plant having a pink flower but it actually the bright orange root that is used medicinally. The powder we see used in cooking, and now in vitamins, is the ground root of the plant. Recently, we in the West have woken up to the wonderful health benefits of this spice. Why is this? What’s so wonderful about turmeric? With regards to joint health, turmeric is awesome because of its anti-inflammatory properties. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which has the ability to block out an enzyme that causes inflammation in the body. Great news for those suffering from arthritis! It is now believed that inflammation plays a massive part in many diseases prevalent in the Western world including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. 

So, how can you get turmeric into your body?
Turmeric is poorly absorbed by the body and you would need to eat a huge amount of it to get the health benefits we described above. Not to worry, turmeric vitamin supplements are now readily available. Make sure capsules are of a high enough strength. You should be taking 500-1000mg of the active ingredient curcumin per day. One other thing to note is that black pepper increases the body’s absorption rate of this vitamin. Many turmeric supplements contain black pepper which helps with absorption. If not, try taking a whole black peppercorn with your tablets. For more information on the health benefits of turmeric click here.

TART CHERRIES
Tart cherries, or as they are sometimes known, sour cherries, have a multitude of health benefits. For joint health we are particularly interested in the fact that they contain anthocyanins and bioflavonoids which inhibit certain enzymes that cause bodily inflammation. They are believed to act in a similar way to aspirin or ibuprofen but with no side effects. In addition, tart cherries contain melatonin that promotes restful sleep. Often those with joint pain are continually woken by pains and don’t get enough sleep. This could be of benefit twofold.

How do you get this good stuff inside you?
Two 8oz glasses of Montmorency cherry juice per day will suffice. Alternatively, 2 tablespoons of concentrated juice will work. Don’t like juice or want to avoid the sugars? Tart cherry juice is available in a capsule form as well.

COLLAGEN
Collagen comes from the Greek word kola meaning glue, and in a real sense, collagen is the glue that holds our bodies together. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies but by age 21 our body’s supply begins to deplete.

So how can collagen help us in our quest for flexibility?
Having enough collagen ensures that joints, bones, tendons, cartilage as well as skin and hair can self-renew effectively. Collagen studies have shown that oral supplements of collagen can prevent and even reverse the effects of collagen loss and alleviate joint pain and injury associated with high-impact exercise. More great news for those suffering from arthritis! In a study over 120 days, healthy subjects who experienced joint pain saw significant improvements in joint function and flexibility as a result of taking collagen supplements. Click here for more in-depth details.

woman in blue top drinking water with headphones in

4 Ways Drinking Water Makes You More Flexible

That’s right, drinking water makes you more flexible folks. FACT! Read below to see how and why…

1. Hydrated Muscles are Flexible Muscles
The human body is made up of 70% water, which means the muscles are also 70% water. When you’re dehydrated, muscles are dehydrated too and they will not extend and contract in the way they are meant to when fully hydrated. Dehydration makes them inflexible.

2. Hydration Increases Strength
Hydrated muscles are strong muscles. Strength is adversely affected by dehydration because if you don’t drink enough water your muscles will be deprived of electrolytes and cramp. You won’t have as much physical strength as you would if you were fully hydrated.

3. Proper Hydration Lessens Post-Exercise Soreness
Dehydration during exercise can exasperate muscle soreness after workouts. That’s right folks! You will feel the post-exercise burn way more if you exercise on dehydrated muscles. So why does this happen? Lack of water dramatically affects the flow of oxygen in the blood and the removal of waste products from your body resulting in delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS which is the pain you often feel a day or two after working out.

4. Hydrated Joints are More Flexible
Joints are lubricated by synovial fluid, an oily, water-based fluid that manufactured by your body to keep your joints functioning properly. So, what happens if your body has a lack of water? That’s right, you guessed it, the fluid is depleted and joint stiffness is the result. And no one wants that, right?!

So, folks, there you have it! 4 ways drinking water makes you more flexible. If you want to stay flexible, stay hydrated! But how much water is enough we hear you cry? Half your body weight in fluid ounces per day is a good general guideline but you will need to take in more when exercising or when it is very hot.

girl doing side plank in a living room

Cost Effective and Convenient Daily Health Hacks

By Jennifer McGregor

Do you avoid healthy habits because they seem like too much trouble or because they’re too expensive? Actually, living healthy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or disrupt your busy schedule – self-care can be convenient and cost-effective. Here are a few ideas for working healthy habits into your everyday life seamlessly and affordably:

Exercise at home

If your idea of exercise is a crowded gym and a costly membership, there’s good news. You can get effective exercise at home, work, or while doing simple, everyday chores. Exercising in place costs nothing, takes a little time, and can benefit you substantially. A recent study found that doing a few 30-second sprints (four or five) can provide cardiovascular benefits on par with a 40-to-60-minute workout.

The idea is to get your heart pumping, so try sprinting around the block a few times after work and on the weekends. If the weather doesn’t permit, simply jump in place for four minutes (you’ll definitely feel the burn) in front of the television or before going to bed. If the family dog could use some exercise, take him on a short run or jog after dinner.

Stock up on affordable equipment

A good workout doesn’t require a visit to the gym, because you can set up an effective exercise space at home. And you can do it without investing thousands of dollars in high-tech equipment. Free weights, kettlebells, a smart scale and an activity tracker can help put you on the path to weight loss, improved strength and flexibility, and enhanced mood. When you decide to upgrade your workout space, check out affordable retailers like Best Buy so your home gym doesn’t exceed your budget. Also be sure to research Best Buy coupons, promo codes and sales so you can save even more. Exercising at home will make it easier to stay motivated and stay in shape.

Work out at work

If your busy work schedule keeps you in the office 8 or more hours a day, you’re probably spending a lot of time in a sedentary position, which won’t help your weight loss efforts or benefit your heart. You can exercise in place at the office just as well as you can at home, and you don’t need an in-office treadmill. Try doing some isometric exercises while seated at your desk, do your four-minute jumping routine, or download Break Pal (just $20), which prompts you for a three-minute workout every 30 minutes.

Dining out

Following a healthy diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious meal out now and then without having to spend a lot. There are plenty of good vegetarian restaurants that offer a wide selection of affordable and healthy dishes. If you haven’t tried Mediterranean foods (Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan, etc.), you’re missing out on healthy and delicious eating. It’s affordable, and the benefits of a Mediterranean diet have been scientifically proven.

Socialize

Studies have shown that socializing with friends can improve brain health and reduce the risk of dementia. Interacting with people who care about you can also strengthen the immune system, alleviate depression, and may even lead to a longer, healthier life. Schedule a weekly get-together over coffee or at the movies or, if you’re looking to reduce expenses, schedule a potluck dinner with everyone bringing a dish. If your friends’ schedules make it difficult to get together, FaceTime and Skype make it easy to stay in face-to-face contact with the people who mean the most to you. Don’t waste time and money on equipment and exercise programs that promise weight loss, muscle gain and a sculpted body. Focus instead on simple and inexpensive practices that produce incremental improvements in your health. That includes exercise, diet, socialization, restful sleep and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.