Exercise with confidence this summer and beyond: A physiotherapist's joint care tips
Outdoor exercise is a great way to keep active while making the most of the fresh air, improving your fitness and releasing the hormones called ‘endorphins’ that help to relieve stress (Salmon 2001), increase self-esteem and boost energy (Ekkekakis et al. 2000). While the longer and (hopefully!) sunnier days are with us, there’s more reason than ever to dust off your trainers and get moving.
However, many of those inspired to take up exercise may be hesitant due to concerns regarding the impact on their joints.Over time, the ‘wear and tear’ of joints can cause inflammation and accelerate the deterioration of cartilage inside the joint. In fact, a third of adults over the age of 45 have sought treatment for osteoarthritis, a painful condition caused by the breakdown of protective joint cartilage over time (Arthritis Research UK 2013).
Sammy Margo: a physiotherapist's view
Award winning physiotherapist Sammy Margo, who has more than 30 years’ experience in treating patients with chronic joint conditions, comments: ‘Joint stiffness or pain – especially in the load-bearing joints such as the knees or lower back – could be a warning sign for the start of something more serious and can affect anyone at any age.
‘Young adults are just as at risk of developing joint conditions from repetitive injuries or over usage as an adult that experiences arthritic conditions due to their age.’
Runner Emma's story
I would definitely recommend taking GOPO® Joint Health Plus Ginger to anyone who also suffers with joint pain and to the wider running community. I can’t wait to get back out there [Emma]
Injuries can have profound and long-lasting affects. Emma, 41 and from Birmingham, was an avid competitive runner, until an injury in 2018 left her limping and put an abrupt halt to this prominent part of her life.
‘My symptoms started the second I crossed the line of a local 10-mile race. I suspect that I damaged my knee on a downhill descent, perhaps having gradually sustained wear and tear over time.
‘When I first injured my knee, the pain in my knee joint made walking down the stairs at work and at home incredibly painful. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve walked into my local pharmacy and asked for the strongest possible tablets to help with the pain.
‘Like a lot of people, running helps me to deal with the stresses of everyday life, so when I couldn’t run I could feel my mental health suffering. Most of my friends are also runners so I missed out on a lot of social runs and other events. Without running I felt at a loss.’
Emma was introduced to a new rose-hip based supplement, GOPO® Joint Health plus Ginger, six weeks ago, with the advice that it might help to ease her back into running. She soon became a convert.
‘Within weeks my knees have been feeling so much better. Finally, I have hope for the future, having feared that my running days might be behind me. I am now feeling like I can start to run again and am optimistic about starting the “Couch to 5k” in a few weeks. My left knee has stopped making a grinding sound when I walk down the stairs at home which is a huge relief.
Emma added: ‘I would definitely recommend taking GOPO® Joint Health Plus Ginger to anyone who also suffers with joint pain and to the wider running community. I can’t wait to get back out there.’
While it’s important to be mindful and protect for your joints at all ages, exercise is a great way to help support your joint health when taking the correct care and precautions.
Early intervention is key: adding a supplement to your daily routine, alongside maintaining a well-balanced and varied diet, can offer additional support to achieving optimal joint health [Sammy Margo]
Consultant rheumatologist Rod Hughes on the benefits of exercise
Consultant rheumatologist Rod Hughes says: ‘Regular exercise is a great way to keep muscles strong and helps to maintain a stable weight. It is important to stretch before you exercise though, particularly if you are unaccustomed to exercise, unfit or overweight.
Dr Hughes explains: ‘This is because exercise, especially running, can cause a temporary stress to both the joints and soft tissues causing pain in the ligaments of the knees and across the tissues of the hip and pelvis.’
Simple lifestyle changes and the addition of a clinically backed supplement can be all the support your joints need to exercise this summer with confidence.
Physiotherapist Sammy Margo adds: ‘Early intervention is key: adding a supplement to your daily routine, alongside maintaining a well-balanced and varied diet, can offer additional support to achieving optimal joint health. The double anti-inflammatory effects of GOPO® Joint Health Plus Ginger combined provide targeted relief to safeguard your joints and maintain an active lifestyle.’
Are your joints ready? Here are Sammy’s top tips to get moving this summer
- stretch and strengthen: ‘Regular stretching helps to keep joints and tendons flexible. If muscles are tight, the range of motion can feel restricted which adds extra pressure to the joint tissues. Strong muscles and regular stretching ensure the joints are well supported.’
- add an anti-inflammatory supplement to your diet: ‘Arthritic conditions benefit from foods which reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. GOPO® Joint Health Plus Ginger contains specially cultivated rose-hip and ginger andprovides a safe alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) thanks to its double anti-inflammatory effect.’
- mix up your movements: ‘Adding variety to your workout routines can relieve pressure and reduce impact on lode-bearing joints. If you’re used to exercising multiple times a week, make sure you mix it up. Why not try cycling or focus on your flexibility with a Pilates session?’
- maintain a healthy weight: ‘Excess weight puts additional stress on joints which can accelerate the risk of osteoarthritis, especially in the knees. Studies have shown that every pound of weight lost in obese adults will result in a four-fold reduction on the load exerted on the knee(Messier et al. 2005). Losing a few pounds can go a long way to improving your overall health and wellbeing.’
- wear appropriate footwear: ‘If you exercise regularly it’s important to have shoes that offer enough cushioning and support to prevent trauma to the joints and bones. Invest in good quality footwear that fits well and are appropriate for the type of exercise you choose to do.’
GOPO® Joint Health Plus Ginger is specially formulated to aid muscle recovery, reduce morning joint stiffness and safeguard joints to help maintain an active lifestyle. This is due to the scientifically supported properties of both compounds – ginger has been shown to activate anti-inflammatory proteins to reduce morning joint stiffnessand muscle pain by 25 per cent (Black et al. 2010; Altman and Marcussen 2001).
In conjunction, GOPO® has been shown to protect and even restore cartilage (Schwager et al. 2008). Research into active, healthy adults also found that 12 weeks of GOPO® supplementation led to reductions in joint pain and improved mobility (Scaife 2013).
To find out more about the GOPO® Joint Health range, visit: www.gopo.co.uk
Altman RD and Marcussen (2001) Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 44(11):2531-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11710709/
Arthritis Research UK (2013) Osteoarthritis in General Practice. https://www.versusarthritis.org/media/2115/osteoarthritis-in-general-practice.pdf
Black CD et al. (2010) Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise. The Journal of Pain. 11(9)894-903. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20418184
Ekkekakis P et al. (2000). Walking in (affective) circles: Can short walks enhance affect? Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 23(3)245–275. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1005558025163
Messier SP et al. (2005) Weight loss reduces knee-joint loads in overweight and obese older adults with knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 52(7)2026-32. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/art.21139
Salmon P (2001) Effects of Physical Activity on Anxiety, Depression, and Sensitivity to Stress: A Unifying Theory. Clinical Psychology Review. 21(1)33–61. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11148895/
Scaife R (2013) The effect of GOPO® on passive joint forces and subjective assessment of pain in a non arthritic population. ISSSMC 2013 Conference Abstracts. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/47/17/e4.36
Schwager J et al. (2008) Anti-inflammatory and chondro-protective effects of rose hip powder and its constituent galactolipids GOPO. Poster presentation at the World Congress of Osteoarthritis (OARSI), Rome, 8-21 September 2008.
Zakeri Z et al. (2011) Evaluating the effects of ginger extract on knee pain, stiffness and difficulty in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 5(15) 3375-3379. https://academicjournals.org/article/article1380629850_Zakeri%20et%20al.pdf