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The Benefits of Exercise on Joint Health

If you suffer from joint pain, exercising can be difficult. Some think exercising increases pain and it’s best to avoid putting any additional pressure on the joints. But the opposite is true. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Exercising can help ease stiffness, improve joint movement, strengthen muscles and maintain bone density. Even slight movements can help pump the blood to the joints, lubricate the joints and strengthen the muscles to protect the joints. When you don’t work out, that is when the pain increases and arthritis worsens. However, keep in mind that prolonged and intense workouts may worsen the pain and inflammation. When implementing a regular exercise regimen, avoid strenuous activity, listen to your body and incorporate light activities. If you are just starting out, aquatic exercises may be a great place to start. Aquatic workouts help relieve pressure of your body’s weight on the affected joints, while providing resistance for your muscles to get stronger. You can even do aquatic exercise if you don't know how to swim. Other light activities may include jogging, walking, light weights and stretching (yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi). If you are uncertain which type of exercise is best for you, consult with your health care provider. How to Stay Motivated When choosing an exercise routine, focus on activities that you find enjoyable. This could include walking to the grocery store, biking in the park or gardening. If you don’t know what you might enjoy, start small and try a variety of activities. If you find it hard to stay motivated, make exercising a social activity. Joining an aquatic fitness program or going for a walk with a friend can motivate you to stick to your exercise routine. Another way to stay motivated is to set realistic goals. Schedule exercise when you are at your highest energy level for 20-30 minutes, 3 times a week. If you are just starting, plan a 10 to 15 minute workout and gradually increase the length of time once you’ve become accustom to your routine. Supplementing for Joint Health Taking health supplements for joint health is just as important as exercising. As you age, joints and muscles are not as resilient and may require more time for recovery post-workout. For your muscles to work efficiently and to replenish the loss of minerals during your work out, certain nutrients are vital. SierraSil, a Kosher certified and active ingredient in SierraSil Joint Formula14, contains minerals in a rich clay structure that eases joint and muscles aches, reduces stiffness and helps prevent cartilage breakdown associate with exercise and movement. Many professional athletes have reported increased performance and decreased recovery times using SierraSil. Other benefits of exercise Exercising has proven mental and emotional benefits from reducing the impact of stress to regulating your sleep patterns to boosting your immune system. Even after a short burst of exercise, you’ll feel more confident and energized. With the right exercise program, you can conquer your joint pain and inflammation one workout at a time. It is never too late to incorporate a little movement in your daily routine for a more thriving and pain free life. By: Justyna Zarzeczny. For more health and wellness articles by Justyna please visit her blog at

Video Blog: Caroline Berry on why anti-inflammatory diets are great for joint health and mobility

Video Transcript Hi, my name is Carolyn Berry and I'm a registered dietitian here in Vancouver BC. I am passionate about being a dietitian because I feel there is so much information going around about nutrition. There's lots of myths and I really like to debunk those myths. I think that's really important. I do work in a hospital. I work in a private clinic and I also have my own private practice called Berry Nourished. My website is I feature lots of different recipes on my website, so really easy to make, simple ingredients. I'm also very active. I run marathons and I like to help people basically learn how to eat and be fit at the same time. When it comes to eating organic foods we really need to weigh out the costs versus the health benefit of the organic food. We do know that organic foods have a lower amount of pesticides than non organic foods. However, they are quite expensive. A rule that I like to go by is the dirty dozen versus the clean 15. That's something that you can look up to see the entire list but just to give you an example, the dirty dozen would include apples, nectarines, grapes, spinach. Those are things if you are going to buy organic, I would spend your money on the more pesticide dirty dozen. The clean 15 would include things like onions, cabbage, cantaloupe. If you think about cantaloupe, it has a really thick skin so you're not eating the skin, right, so that's a bit of a cleaner fruit in terms of pesticides. Inflammation is at the root of a lot of illnesses and there's things that we can do in our diets to help. One of the things would be increasing Omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats are found in cold water fatty fish, so examples would be salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, sardines. Plant sources of Omega 3 would be ground flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil. We really want to increase our intake of these Omega 3 fats. They are anti-inflammatory. On the other hand, we have Omega 6 fats and Omega 6 fats are found in a lot of those really light tasting oils that are used in a lot of processed foods. For example, sunflower oil, safflower oil, soy bean oil. Companies are using those oils because they're cheap to produce. They're putting them in cookies, crackers, baked goods. A lot of those processed foods that we're eating so as a result, in our North American diets, we get a lot of Omega 6 fats. We actually want to be achieving a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of 4 to 1. 4 Omega 6 to one Omega 3. Unfortunately in North America our ratio is more like 15 to 1 so we have a lot of Omega 6 in our diets. We want to work on cutting down the Omega 6 and replacing those with more Omega 3 fats. As someone who's complete 4 marathons I do think that eating an anti-inflammatory diet is really really important, because we put so much strain on our joints and anti-inflammatory foods can really help with that. One of the things would be eating lots of fruits and veggies. I know that this is something that we're always preaching about but it's so so important. Fruits and vegetables have a high amount of antioxidants which can help combat inflammation. Another big one would be minimizing those refined carbohydrates, so the white pastas, the white rice. We want to try and switch those to the whole grain version. Whole wheat pasta, whole grain rice, quinoa, etc. Another big one would be saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats and trans fats start the promotion of the inflammatory process in the body. It's okay to have some saturated fats but we want to do is try and eat more of the healthy unsaturated fats. When it comes to choosing meats, minimize your red meat intake a little bit. Choose more poultry, skinless poultry, fish, high in Omega 3s. Those are better choices. Also the pulses, so the dried beans, peas and lentils. Choose more of those vegetarian proteins as well, incorporate that into your diet. Another big one is stay away from those sugar sweetened beverages. It's okay to have them once in a while but they spike your blood sugars and that causes inflammation. Bottom line, try and eat fresh foods and minimize any processed foods, always go for the fresh whole food. When it comes to supplementation, as a dietitian, I'm all about foods before supplements. That being said, there are some nutrients that we don't always get enough of in our diets. One big one would be vitamin D. We do get vitamin D from the sun. We also get it from milk products, from fish, from eggs, but we tend to not get quite as much as we need. Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory. I recommend taking an additional supplement. That would be about a 1,000 IU per day. Then Omega 3s would be another supplement that you might want to consider taking. If you're not getting those 2 servings of fatty fish a week, so your salmon, your trout, your sardines, if you're not getting 2 servings a week, I would suggest an additional Omega 3 supplement, about 500 mg of Omega 3 per day.

Video Blog: Dr. Jack Taunton talks sports medicine

Video Transcript The passion that I have for sports medicine has been there for a long time. As a young child, grade one, I had polio and I went through extensive rehabilitation. Then just as I was getting over that into junior high school, I got hit by a car and had a fractured dislocation of an ankle and I was in a cast for 32 weeks and went through a lot of rehabilitation. My friends were athletes. My friends were successful. I equated being an athlete and being successful as one and I was neither, so that I had a passion to get better, to thank the people that helped me and to be able to get into a running program, getting into a cycling program, a program that would allow me to catch up to my friends and get better than them. My big passion was to make a major games which most people would laugh about. The question is in terms of the work with sports medicine and how much work does an athlete require. Sports medicine is now been recognized as a true specialty in sports medicine that's just been ... They've gone through a whole process. They've just now started to announce the ones in Canada that have now got this specialty and I was very, very lucky to get one of the early ones a month ago. What sports medicine is it's basically taking that science of human movement that you understand from kinesiology and then applying that to a diseased state. That diseased state may be arthritis, it may be an ankle sprain. It may be a spinal cord injury. We need to be able to diagnose that. Most important, we have to know what we're dealing with, to diagnose it and utilize the most up to date, current, and we want to be up to date and current, that's why we do research, to be up to date and current and to give that athlete, young or old. It's got nothing to do with age, and it's got nothing to do with ability. Young or old to get them the best chance to recover and get back to doing the activity that they want to do. When you run 62 marathons, you get injured. Yes, you do. Particularly you have to look at somebody as old as myself. I mean I co-founded the Vancouver Marathon and started the first running club in Canada. It was only 6 of us and we put on the first Vancouver Marathon and there was 32 of us, but all those 32 were hard core runners. Nowadays we have many, many more, obviously tens of hundreds more but are they any better than the group that I first started with? No, but the important thing is for the people that are now, they now are doing it much safer. They don't go through the same number of injuries that we went through because it was trial and error. We didn't know what a stress fracture. As soon as we know that somebody's got pain in their foot or pain in their hip and it hurts to hop on, you got a stress fracture until proven otherwise. Because if you continue to push, let's say you've got groin pain and you're continuing to push in your marathon training and it hurts to hop but the next day you get out and do it again. That hip can break right through. You can lose the blood supply to it. You could end up having to have an artificial hip at the age of 20 which you would rather not have since the artificial hips only last 15 to 20 years. Prevention is everything that we're trying to do now is by looking at the strength, looking at flexibility and balance because all of those factors are so critical, particularly as you start to fatigue in whatever sport you're doing. We want to be able to prevent those injuries because some of those injuries can be very significant. Inflammation early on is important because it attracts the white cells which help the healing process. The problem becomes when you continue to aggravate it. You get more and more inflammation. Now it's not just localized attracting these white cells to come and heal that small muscle injury, but it becomes a massive inflammation which can create ... People can get autoimmune conditions where you can get inflammation in other joints not related at all to the calf strain that you had. It prevents at a certain level the actual healing process to occur. You need some inflammation to attract cells, but then the cells have to be able to do their job, turn on the fibroblast, lay down the type one collagen and heal that tear. If it's all inflammatory cells, that's where the process stops and the healing stops. There are certain conditions. Tennis players get chronic tennis elbow because ll that inflammation there, it stimulates the laying down of what's called type 3 collagen. It's weak, it's haphazard. It continues to re-tear. If you get rid of the inflammation, you stimulate that fibroblast to lay down type one collagen. You get strong collagen. It heals and we follow you up one, two, three years that 80 or 90% of those people are healed. We wanted to see whether we could enhance athletes, not aerobic capacity, could you run faster, run further but could we enhance your anaerobic power. These are power sports, so we selected 10 football players. Then we put them on 3 weeks of either the supplement or SierraSil. Then they were off 3 weeks to clear it out and then they got the opposite. We wanted to see because when you do an anaerobic work, you create anaerobic products which impair your performance. Lactic acid, people would understand. What the actual mechanism of action of of SierraSil is, is it clears and removes information. It removes the lactic acid and then allows you to train that much harder. We train these athletes. These are top, top athletes. We wanted to see if sure could we do it with individuals that were neophytes but we wanted to take top athletes. We wanted to train them incredibly hard and to create one of the most painful exercise test called the Wingate test and to really stress them and could we improve their anaerobic power. Yes, we could. We improve their power 3% and people say, "Well 3%. That's not very much." Well, you take a look at our power sport, let's say it's a cyclist. In that sprint 3%, 3 seconds. You look at Dawn is our coach for our national kayak and canoe team. He coaches world champion and he's got all these athletes. Boy, if they could get 3% on him, that would be a huge, huge difference.