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Janelle Klein, MSN, ARNP

What is it that gives bounce to your step?  It's more than just your muscles.  It is also the little pads lining your joints, called cartilage.  When your cartilage is in good working order your bones will smoothly glide against one another, such as the ball of your hip in pivoting in the socket of your pelvis. 

Cartilage is a unique tissue in that it does not have blood vessels running through it like muscles or skin.  It is completely dependant upon the fluid in your body diffusing into it to stay hydrated.  Your cartilage needs nutrients and oxygen to repair the damage of routine use and common injuries.  The only way the cartilage can rid of wastes and bring fluid and nutrients in is through the diffusion of body fluids. 

What are three simple, non-expensive habits you can do to help your cartilage stay healthy?

1.  Routine non-stressful activity.  Walking is a  perfect choice as it gently but firmly compresses and releases the cartilage.  This creates a pump-like action that helps nutrients and oxygen to get in and waste products to get out.  Avoid repetitive intense loading of your joints as this will cause compression damage.

2.  Consistently hydrate your body with pure water.  This enables your body to bathe it's cartilage in healing fluids.  Approximately eight glasses of water a day for adults is a good rule of thumb.   

3.  Eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables.  The colors are nutrients and antioxidants that work to prevent cartilage damage.  Try some seasonal favorites like pomegranates, bright sweet yams, persimmons or chestnuts.

These three habits make a huge difference to the smooth function and repair of your cartilage from day to day.  So be kind to your joints and give them something to bounce about!

Click HERE to read an encouraging story about developing the habit of exercise- Lessons From a Pig!

Click HERE to read an article about how we are Designed for Movement.