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Muscles and Joints

Posted Nov 17 2008 9:10pm

I came across this article on osteoarthritis the other day.  It lists some key factors that increase the risk of arthritis over the years:

  • Excess weight
  • Inflammation
  • Loss of muscle mass

All three of these factors can be largely controlled by diet and exercise.  A proper diet and exercise plan can minimize excess weight.  Inflammation is heavily influenced by diet, and a Paleo diet can reduce levels of inflammation.  Strength training can prevent/slow the loss of muscle mass.

Something else I found interesting in this article was the statement that muscle acts as a shock absorber, and that less muscle mass means more pounding on the joints.  Yet I wonder why I never see this discussed as it relates to running. 

For those people who run a lot (especially on pavement), they are placing a good deal of shock on the body.  It would then make sense that a runner would want to build up their lower-body muscles to help absorb some of this shock.  But I don't think I've ever seen this particular recommendation.  Many people recommend strength training for runners, but it's often for the reason of better performance, not better protection for the joints.  I also wonder whether the larger lower-body muscles of sprinters help protect their joints from damage. 

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