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Exercise and Joint Pain

March 6, 2016 By Steve H. CMT

Perhaps the biggest myth surrounding arthritis is that you should not exercise because it will cause more damage. Of course those who suffer from a form of arthritis will welcome this myth because physical activity—the wrong physical activity—can be quite painful. But the fact is that exercise isn’t just something you should think about when you’re experience joint pain, it is something you should be doing.

Exercise

This is an instance where what “makes sense” is actually false. Don’t just take my word for it; the folks at Harvard Medical School say that exercise is the secret to joint pain relief. Why? Exercise strengthens muscles equally so you can stop favoring certain muscles over the other. When you avoid exercise you are doing more harm than good because you are allowing your muscles to weaken which compounds joint pain.

Exercising today to keep your joints healthy and flexible will allow you to maintain more independence in later years. Remember, exercise is also a great way to help you beat arthritis by avoiding weight gain and maintaining overall good health.

If you’re experiencing joint pain and you’re skeptical about exercising, commit these rules to memory and put them to use ASAP!

Not All Exercises Are Equal

Just because exercise is the secret to joint pain relief doesn’t mean all arthritis suffers should be playing tennis. In fact, you should consult with a physical therapist and arthritis specialist to determine what types of exercises are safe and which ones you should avoid. You may have to go through several types of exercise before you find what works for your body.

Pain Isn’t Necessary

The primary reason arthritis sufferers are loath to exercise is because they are terrified of the pain and rightly so. The key here is to find exercises that don’t cause you pain worse than what you experience regularly. This is why I recommend consulting with your physician and physical therapist to create a workout regimen that strengthens muscles without causing you to sit in a hot bath for an hour every night.

You will experience some soreness after a workout, but if you experience pain that lasts beyond an hour or two you probably need to switch to less stressful exercises.

Variety Is Necessary

You may have found that walking or yoga is the best exercise to alleviate your joint pain and you’ve stuck with it. While I commend you for regularly working your joints and muscles, you need to switch up your routine to make sure you (and your muscles) don’t become complacent. Your muscles need to be challenged so they can get strong and support those joints properly.

So while you love yoga, you should spend a couple days each week doing something different like stationary cycling or water aerobics. Your goal should be to strengthen muscles while improving stamina so you can continue to exercise regularly.

Don’t Forget The Warm Up...Or The Cool Down

It doesn’t matter if you are exercising to alleviate arthritis symptoms or just to stay healthy, the warm up is an essential part of any workout program. You don’t want to just jump into the deep end and push your muscles to the limit right off the bat. Instead you want to start your workout by gradually increasing the intensity. Begin with stretching to improve your range of motion, particularly if you’re using weights.

When your workout is complete you might need to ice your joints to keep the swelling down and reduce pain. But you also want to physically cool your muscles down by slowly reducing the intensity. Stretch those muscles again before icing so you are only icing the muscles and joints that need it.

Low Impact Cardio

Don’t pretend that cardio exercise doesn’t exist simply because you have joint pain. Ignoring cardio won’t change that it is a highly effective way to improve your joint function while also reducing pain. The key to cardio that works for joint pain is low impact cardio, which means nothing that will jar or further damage the joints. So walk, don’t run.

Swimming

Go swimming or hop on a stationary bicycle to get your heart pumping without doing more damage.

You should understand that if you suffer from joint pain you will experience some pain or discomfort after you’ve worked those joints and muscles. But if you want to avoid some of the nasty long-term side effects of pain medication, look to natural treatments.

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References:

NIAMS, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA. Arthritis & Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 7.87).06/1998; 41(5):778-99. DOI: 10.1002/1529-0131(199805)41:5<778::AID-ART4>3.0.CO;2-V
Source: PubMed

Hürlimann, David, Frank Enseleit, and Priv-Doz Dr Frank Ruschitzka. “Rheumatoide arthritis, inflammation und atherosklerose.” Herz 29.8 (2004): 760-768.

Schett, Georg. “Rheumatoid arthritis: inflammation and bone loss.” Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 156.1-2 (2006): 34-41.

 

 

 

4 Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol

March 5, 2016 By Steve H. CMT

Exercise

Have you been told you need to lower your cholesterol? If so, then you’ve probably heard about the difference between HDL, or “good” cholesterol and LDL, or “bad” cholesterol and the importance of keeping the right balance for a healthy heart.

Well, be careful, because cholesterol numbers alone don’t give you a full picture of your heart’s health. That doesn’t mean you should let your cholesterol readings fly high and unchecked. But be careful of modern medicine “cures” that can cause more problems than they solve.

One of the biggest dangers to your heart are the statin drugs well-meaning doctors prescribe to help you manage your cholesterol. I’m talking drop-dead-on-the-floor-from-sudden-heart-attack type of danger. That’s why I encourage you to use more natural methods of maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Here are five natural ways you can use to help control your cholesterol levels and protect your heart without the risks of statin drugs.

#1 Proper Diet

I can hear the groans already. And your doctor probably already told you this too. That’s because eating right is critical to good health. Not just for your heart, but every aspect of your well being.

But here’s some good news. You don’t have to give up everything you love and eat like a rabbit the rest of your days to enjoy a healthier life. In fact, just some small changes can make a big difference.

Watch your coffee

Many people may skip breakfast (not a good idea), but find their morning coffee an absolute must to get their day started. Fine. But how is it prepared? Do you use whole cream? Add sugar to your coffee? Try replacing cream with milk and sugar with a natural sweetener like stevia. The closer to black you drink your coffee and the less sugar used, the better.

Change Plates

Portion size is one of the things nutritionists and doctors like to harp on. They have a point. But many people I know, particularly here in America, feel like they are getting only half a meal unless they fill up their plate. Here’s a simple remedy to eat less: use a smaller plate. Believe it or not, this really works. You can load up on a medium-sized dinner plate and still end up eating less than you would have using a full-size dinner plate. And since you’re taking less at a time, you naturally end up eating less.

Watch out for fat food

Did I say fat food? I meant to say fast food. Sure, it’s convenient. And it is faster and less expensive than eating in most sit-down restaurants. But more often than not there’s little difference. And the worst thing is the nutritional content of most fast food meals is sorely lacking. But that doesn’t mean you’re home free at a fancy restaurant. Watch out for foods on the menu described as crispy, fried, or served in cheese, butter, or a cream sauce. Better choices are usually steamed, grilled, broiled, roasted, or stir-fried. And finally, take it easy on breads and pizza!

#2 Exercise

It’s hard to discuss health without bringing up exercise. That’s because our bodies weren’t made to just sit around. If we want to remain healthy and active, we need to BE healthy and active.

#3 Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking

Smoking dramatically increases your risk of health problems. It significantly reduces levels of the protective HDL cholesterol while increasing the ability of LDL cholesterol to form arterial plaque through the effects of oxidation. The good news is stopping smoking makes an almost immediate impact on cholesterol levels, with levels back near a non-smoker’s range within six months of stopping.

While quitting smoking may be one of the hardest things you ever do, it is well worth the effort.

Find reasons to live longer and focus on those as the “reason why” you’re going to quit. And be sure to save some of the money you formerly spent on cigarettes to treat yourself as a reward!

#4 Supplements

Omega-3

Increasing your intake of fatty wild fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, herring, and bluefish, is a good way to increase Omega-3 intake. Even easier is to take a natural fish oil supplement. Increasing Omega-3 fatt acids has been proven to lower triglycerides and also to lower LDL cholesterol when you also decrease the amount of saturated fat you eat. Fish oil has also been linked to less artery-blocking clumping activity of blood platelets.

Garlic

Garlic has been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol and improve the overall ratio of HDL to LDL. Most proponents of using garlic for health suggest using only fresh garlic. One great way to get more garlic is to add a clove of garlic to other vegetables in a juicer for a great-tasting health cocktail.

Did You Know?

Garlic is thought to:
Manage cholesterol levels
Reduce arthritis pain
Lower blood pressure
Boost your immune system

For maximum health benefit, eat garlic raw and crushed or very finely chopped.

CoQ10
No discussion of heart health would be complete without mentioning ubiquinone, or Coenzyme Q10 (normally shortened to CoQ10). One of the main reasons statin drugs are so dangerous is they dramatically decrease your body’s CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 is critical for turning food and oxygen into the actual energy your body’s cells use to function. And your heart needs as much as 10 times more CoQ10 than any other organ in your body!

CoQ10 is usually consumed from eating fish, heart and liver, and vegetarians can also find somewhat reasonable levels (though only about a tenth of meat) in soybeans, grapeseed, sesame seeds, peanuts, parsley, spinach, avocados, and nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios. If you want enough to protect your heart though, you should take an actual CoQ10 supplement – and you should consider it vital if you are on any kind of statin drug.

FREE Report
101 Ways Enzymes Can Help You End Arthritis Pain, Stop Disease and Live Longer!

Natures Hidden Health Miracle Book

Download Now

References:

Adler A, Holub B. Effect of garlic and fish-oil supplementation on serum lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in hypercholesterolemic men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1997 Feb;65(2):445-50.

NIAMS, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA. Arthritis & Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 7.87).06/1998; 41(5):778-99. DOI: 10.1002/1529-0131(199805)41:5<778::AID-ART4>3.0.CO;2-V
Source: PubMed

Hürlimann, David, Frank Enseleit, and Priv-Doz Dr Frank Ruschitzka. “Rheumatoide arthritis, inflammation und atherosklerose.” Herz 29.8 (2004): 760-768.

Schett, Georg. “Rheumatoid arthritis: inflammation and bone loss.” Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 156.1-2 (2006): 34-41.

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FREE Report
101 Ways Enzymes Can Help You End Arthritis Pain, Stop Disease and Live Longer!

Natures Hidden Health Miracle Book Download Now