Crossing the road quickly before the light turns red, taking the stairs or bending down to pick something up, are activities many may take for granted. But as our knee joints and leg muscles weaken with age, these tend to get more difficult.
Dr Tomohiro Rogi (PhD), a product researcher at Suntory Wellness Research Centre, explains that you can still experience a good quality of life as you get older. Here, he shares more on taking care of your joints and muscles.
Q: What are the common causes of muscle decline and joint pain?
It can be caused by a variety of factors like ageing, overuse or injury. Ageing can cause reduced muscle mass, leading to decreased strength. Loss of cartilage, stiffness and general wear and tear can also result in joint pain.
In Singapore, osteoarthritis affects 10 per cent of the adult population, especially women aged 50 and above.
Q: Does this mean only elderly people will suffer muscle decline and joint pain?
Older adults are more likely to experience this due to deterioration of joints, muscles, as well as cartilage inflammation from wear and tear. On average, our muscle mass decreases about 40 per cent from the age of 20 to 80.
However, muscle and joint pain can affect people of all ages. Individuals who may be more susceptible to this include those in jobs that require repetitive motions, lift heavy objects or stand for extended periods. Physically active people who engage in high-impact sports or strenuous activities that put stress on their joints and muscles are also at risk.
Q. How can I maintain good muscle and joint health as I age?
This is important for mobility, to improve walking speed, prevent injury and improve overall quality of life. Here are some tips:
Exercise regularly: Physical activity is one of the best ways to keep your muscles healthy. Even low-impact light exercise such as walking or swimming helps. Daily stretching can also help improve range of motion and joint function.
- Eat a healthy diet: As you age, your body needs about 50 per cent more protein than a younger adult to preserve muscle mass and strength. Foods like chicken, fish, eggs, beans, tempeh and tofu are good sources of protein for building and maintaining muscle.
Q. Should I take a dietary supplement and how can it help support joint and muscle health?
You may consider a supplement like Suntory Locomore, a top glucosamine brand in Japan with over 20 million bottles sold as of June 2021. It contains seven effective ingredients that support joint and muscle health.
Anserine, quercetin plus and vitamin D help build and keep muscles healthy, while glucosamine, chondroitin, type II collagen and proteoglycan help protect cartilage, reduce inflammation and support joint health. Studies have shown regular consumption may help relieve joint discomfort and improve walking speed in 16 weeks.
Q. What can I do to prevent injury to my muscles and joints?
Maintaining correct posture can reduce the amount of stress on your joints and lower the likelihood of injury to the surrounding muscles. Pay attention to your posture when performing repetitive movements, as well as when sitting, standing or lifting heavy objects.
Since excess weight can put extra strain on the joints, leading to pain and inflammation, it is also important to maintain a healthy weight.
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