From nature walking to Christmas tree shopping, there’s so much outdoor fun to be had this season that you can’t have cranky knees slowing you down! Keeping those hardworking joints in peak condition helps you stay active and independent, according to doctors at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, adding nine healthy, happy years to your life. Here’s how…
Sprinkle on ginger.
Seasoning meals with 1 tsp. of fresh ginger root — or 1⁄2 tsp. of dried spice — daily eases knee pain as effectively as painkillers for 75 percent of women studied. Thanks goes to ginger’s active ingredients (gingerols), which shut down the production of inflammation-triggering enzymes. Tip: Freshly grated ginger is yummy sprinkled over hot rice, oatmeal and even ice cream — and try stirring a little dried ginger into honey before spreading it on toast.
Enjoy your wine!
Sipping 6 oz. of wine daily may cut your risk of knee pain by 48 percent! That’s because phytoestrogens in wine halt the breakdown of knee cartilage.
Rub in this cream.
Massaging comfrey cream ($30.66, Amazon) into sore knees cuts joint stiffness and pain by 33 percent within 60 minutes — and if you apply 1⁄2 tsp. to each knee three times daily, your pain could plunge by 94 percent in four days, suggests research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Study coauthor Chris Staiger, Ph.D., explains that comfrey reduces joint inflammation, calms overactive pain nerves and encourages tissue repair.
Stand, sit, repeat.
Strengthening your gluteal muscles — which extend from your rear around your hips — can increase knee flexibility and strength by 30 percent, plus cut risk of pain by 43 percent, UCLA researchers say. To tone your glutes, stand up from a chair and sit down again (without using your arms) 10 times, three times daily.
Taking 3,000 mg. of MSM (a sulfur compound) daily eases knee pain by 59 percent in 10 days and helps you bounce back 75 percent faster, studies show, by switching on enzymes that speed healing. Try: Life Extension MSM. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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