It’s not just running that can take a toll on my aching knees. In fact sometimes I think it’s actually easier on my joints than my favorite activity—hiking. Blessedly backed by steep foothills and even bigger mountains lingering just a short drive away, Boulder, Colo., offers me plenty of opportunities for my favorite punishment.
But as good as the uphill battle feels it’s the joint-bludgeoning downhill that makes me hobble back to my car. And lately the ache stays with me throughout my workday, making me limp along or stumble my way to the kitchen to refill my water bottle or pop into a coworker’s office.
Barely 30 years old, it’s frustrating to feel limited by my body, but I’ve decided to take this as an early-warning system rather than a sign of impending doom. Physicians, physical therapists and sports medicine experts learn more about joint health every day and have discovered new ways to help maintain optimum flexibility and comfort for longer. For me this means more beautiful hikes to places I love and continuing to test my limits and get stronger and healthier as I age.
So what’s the key? According to Shawn Talbott, PhD, nutrition and exercise expert and ultramarathon runner, my joints are so much more than bone and cartilage. The joint is made up of all the fluids, muscles and connective tissues involved in movement and support. So keeping my knees and hips healthy and happy involves so much more than cartilage-promoting supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen. I need those too, but the story doesn’t stop there.
According to Talbott, the latest research shows that fighting inflammation and promoting optimum blood flow may go further in maintaining, and even improving, joint health than old standbys like glucosamine and chondroitin. Luckily, the world of supplements and functional nutrition offers a myriad of possible solutions to address inflammation and healthy joint function.
See the research and get the expert take on the best ingredients for joint health from Shawn Talbott. And we’ve also put together a gallery of some of our favorite finished products that support the whole joint system so you can stay active and healthy as you age.
See you on the trail!