I have always been one to believe that it is possible for all of us feel our very best – at any age or stage in life… So when I hear people justify feeling sore and stiff with joint pain as a ‘normal’ part of the aging process, it really bothers me.
How you feel on a day-to-day basis and how you age, is an exact representation of how you’ve treated your body through your daily lifestyle choices.
Most people are taught to think this way about their body as they age. So it’s not entirely your fault if you believe this – there’s actually an error in the system.
There are substantial root causes as to why we would feel these effects over time, and they really don’t have anything to do with aging. Here’s a look at what might really going on:
5 REASONS FOR YOUR STIFFNESS & PAIN
TRAUMA: It’s common to blame the aging process on your aches and pains, but if you’ve injured yourself in the past, in many cases your current pain may actually be stemming from an old trauma that was not properly dealt with. With impact trauma an injury can be active in your body for years and can create enough stiffness to get your attention.
REPRESSION: Studies actually show that pain can be both psychological or emotional in origin. In the act of repression, we use our own muscles to hold back our emotions – not all pain is purely physical in nature. Chronic pain could be linked to repressed psychological or emotional stress that is directly causing your muscle tension.
STRESS: Pay attention to how your shoulders and neck tense up when you are put under pressure, we also tend take shallow breathers when stress levels are high. While our natural stress response is designed to help us respond when we are faced with a fear, whether the fear is actual or imaginary, one of the consequences is hardening muscles. If you’re not taking time to detox stress and Recharge, daily pain and stiffness can be a result.
INACTIVITY: Movement is probably the most essential aspect in keeping your body feeling free and flexible. When we activate our muscles it makes our tissues warm and introduces a more fluid state. If we go days or weeks without making the time to exercise and move – we actually are creating stiffness. Neglecting daily exercise and movement has been shown speed up the aging process and additionally put you at risk for age-related disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and musculoskeletal disorders.
CONTRACTIVE MOVEMENT: One thing that may just be worse than inactivity is taking part in the wrong kind of movements. Muscle stiffness after exercise is usually the result from low level micro-trauma or small tearing of the muscle fibres – caused by the stress factor that comes naturally with exercise. Not only is it important to ensure that you are performing exercises correctly, but it is also important to avoid over-training. More is not always better and you don’t need high-intensity workouts to see results. It’s important to balance out your lifestyle by including activities such as therapeutic yoga flows and core work such as pilates.
In addition to evaluating the true root cause for your pain and stiffness, there are also ‘functional foods’ that you can include in your daily routine, which have a potential to provide many benefits; from decreasing inflammation, healing your joints and repairing damage.
THE TOP FUNCTIONAL FOOD FOR JOINT PAIN
Whether you just have the occasional joint pain or a more chronic case of arthritis, there are certain foods that can help. One that has become more well known recently is gelatin.
WHAT IS GELATIN EXACTLY?
Short and simple: gelatin is essentially ‘cooked collagen’. Our natural whole-food source of this is bone broth. The practice of preparing this nutrient-dense broth involves boiling bones, along with any bits and pieces of meat, skin, and gristle attached to them, for 18 hours or so. It’s a timely process, but every minute counts – there’s something happening that isn’t apparent at first. A prolonged cooking time is essential for extracting the natural collagen, proline, glutamine and glycine from the bones and ligaments. When the broth cools the gel-like characteristics of gelatin will unveil.
Collagen is our most abundant protein in the body, while there are at least 16 different types, what’s known as type 1 collagen is most prevalent – found in our bones, muscles, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. Collagen seals and heals, in the case of joint and tendon health, it’s like the glue that holds the body together.
As we age our natural collagen production declines. If we’re prone to making less than healthy lifestyle choices, the rate is accelerated and this speeds up the process of aging effects, such as sagging skin and weaker joints.
If you feel like you’ve got a set of ‘skeleton legs’ that feel extra stiff and also cause you pain during movement – this is a clear indication of collagen loss. When we lose collagen, our tendons and ligaments are no longer moving with ease.
Move without pain by focusing on getting this healing protein. Include a multi-source collagen in your routine and think of it as adding oil to a squeaky door hinge. Collagen works to help your joints move more easily and without the pain. Studies are even finding collagen to be an effective treatment method in osteoarthritis and other joint pain and disorders.
TRY A MULTI-SOURCE COLLAGEN
While it’s always beneficial to include our whole food source of collagen, bone broth – you can also supplement with a high quality powder, preferably one that provides different types of collagen. I’ve been utilizing WellPath Renew in my own practice. This brand offers a balanced blend of collagen peptides, including types 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 – providing diverse benefits when compared to a single-type collagen.
WellPath sources grass-fed and pasture-raised bovine, wild caught red snapper, cage-free chicken and eggshell membrane to create their blend. Each scoop is packed with 20 nourishing amino acids and 7 grams of protein, with 40 servings per container.
I find it easiest to include my scoop of collagen to my morning coffee or matcha latte, it makes my energizing morning blend extra creamy and frothy. I also started including it in recipes such as pancakes, smoothies and energy bites.