Joint care for triathletesStaying flexible and joint care is essential for all of us, and even more so for triathletes and endurance sports people.

Have you ever wondered what impact (literally) triathlon has on our joints? And what are the best ways to look after them?

Before I begin I always recommend that you consume a balanced diet with a net alkaline effect on the body, and one that counteracts chronic inflammation.

In a nutshell lots of green leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, lean organic grass fed meat and poultry, and line caught fish.

In this modern world with soil nutrient depletion (even in organic soils) I also recommend we all consume a good multivitamin and mineral supplement with an omega 3 supplement.

Realistically it is extremely difficult to get enough omega 3, and we average a ratio of omega3:omega6 of 1:10, and even 1:16+! Ideally we want omega 3:6 ration to be 1:1, and too much omega 6 results in chronic inflammation and a host of other problems.

Even more important for active sporty individuals, nutrition is an huge topic but today I just want to concentrate on three supplements (combined into one supplement) that I feel is extremely valuable if you are concerned about the longevity of your joints, or if you have an injury to a joint.

As we get older, our ability to stay flexible both in terms of our thinking and our physical movement can often decline.

Wear and tear and old injuries can eventually lead to stiff and painful joints, especially when large training loads are applied. Fortunately we can take steps to help keep our joints healthy whilst keeping fit.

Our bodies are made to be active, so it’s important to exercise several times a week if you want to keep your joints healthy.

Just 1⁄2 an hour every day will make a big difference, since joint growth and repair will be stimulated by the exercise (a problem sedentary get adults from inactivity).

Ensure you consume optimum nutrition to go alongside exercise and give your body the building blocks it needs to keep your joints in good condition.

Triathletes by nature apply a large volume of training and stress on joints so essential nutrition to maintain joints is crucial.

Glucosamine hydrochloride is a natural amino acid sugar which can be easily absorbed by the body and used to help maintain the integrity of large joints in particular. Studies suggest that it works by influencing the immune system more than the joint cartilage itself, and it combines well with both Chondroitin and MSM.

One study on Glucosamine and Chondroitin published in 2012 indicated that supplementing these may help with pain and narrowing of the joint space (Martin MS, 2012).

Glucosamine is sourced from sea shells so is considered unsuitable for those with a shellfish allergy.

Chondroitin is fantastic for joint care and needed to create proteoglycans, a specific kind of protein needed to make connective tissue. It has also been shown in studies to help nourish the joint cartilage, although it can take 8-12 weeks to have a significant effect.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is rich in sulphur which is needed for many biochemical reactions throughout the body. In terms of joint health, sulphur has been shown to nourish and promote the maintenance of healthy cartilage, helping the joint to stay strong and flexible.

These three ingredients are considered to work better in synergy than on their own, and are very popular with runners and triathletes, and those wishing to keep their joints healthy well into old age.

‘Everflex’ contains all three ingredients and is a great product for people with old joint injuries, or concerned about the possibility of developing joint problems later in life.

As anyone who knows me knows, I am an advocate of natural and ethically sourced ingredients and products, and everflex contains only organic and wildcrafted ingredients. No artificial sweetners or chemicals, and the bioavailability to the body makes it an extremely effective product.

Next steps:

1. Purchase your glucosamine, msm and chondroitin supplement from a reputable source

2. Begin taking the supplement as directed daily for 90 days

3. Take a weekly note of your subjective feelings on any joint issues you may be experiencing, and refer to them to see progress

4. Integrate flexibility and mobility into your triathlon training program.

Happy training, Nico.

PS. Of course if you need advice just contact me and I will happily advise you on nutrition and training. And if you appreciate this advice and want more support why not join the Project Tri team where you will have access to triathlon plans all year, race specific plans and support, plus a whole host of other benefits too.