Gout is common among older people, particularly in men between the ages of 40 and 501 and in women in their post-menopausal stage. But just because you don’t belong to any of these groups, it doesn’t mean you’re safe from the disease.
It’s never too early to start combatting the potential effects of gout, and you can do so through these strategies.
It’s Time to Get Physical
Constant movement is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, and since gout attacks the joints and leads to inflammation, exercise or physical activity can stop flare-ups from happening. A regular exercise program can increase circulation and normalize your insulin and uric acid levels.
Take note that there are exercises that may not be suitable for gout patients or those experiencing gout symptoms, as they can worsen joint pain or strain significantly unstable joints. Here are tips if you’re a gout patient and want to incorporate physical activity into your routine:
- Refrain from exercising when your joints are painful.
- Slow down or choose another type of exercise if you feel pain for more than an hour after a workout
- Use assistive devices to reduce joint pressure while exercising
- Enlist a professional physical therapist or personal trainer who can develop a safe range of workouts for you
If you’re keen on working out, make sure to incorporate any or all of these three techniques.They’re modified but more beneficial versions of routines that most people are already familiar with:
• High-intensity interval training (HIIT): HIIT requires 30 seconds of all-out effort followed by 90 seconds of rest. This exercise improves muscle tone, enhances your energy levels, boosts production of the human growth hormone (HGH), and burns more calories
• Strength training: strength training workouts come in many different types suitable for various lifestyles, but what they all have in common are their benefits for you, such as:
◦ Slowing down aging
◦ Forming strong connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments
◦ Improving muscle tone
◦ Getting rid of excess fat
Contrary to popular belief, strength training exercises will not make you bulk up since muscle growth is restrained mostly by genetics, food intake, age gender, body type and other biological factors.
• Active isolated stretching (AIS): developed by Aaron Mattes, AIS involves specialized repetitive stretches performed in a particular order targeting muscle and connective tissue injury and restriction. The tissues then elongate without initiating the body’s protective systems that would hinder safe and effective stretching and overall flexibility
Increase Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is beneficial not just for gout patients, but for everyone in general. Research has shown its importance in maintaining overall health, as it stimulates over 2,000 genes in your body and plays a role in various bodily processes. Vitamin D also has a major role in preventing diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer to name a few.
If you want to raise your vitamin D levels, the best way to do it is via sun exposure. Make sure large portions of your skin are exposed to the sun for a few minutes, at a period closest to solar noon. This permits your body to naturally create vitamin D3 sulfate, a water-soluble vitamin that’s able to move freely in your bloodstream. You’ll know that you have accomplished this when your skin turns into the lightest shade of pink.
You need to get approximately 5,000 to 6,000 IUs (international units) per day to maintain ideal levels of 40 to 60 ng/ml. However, if you live in an area where sunlight isn’t abundant, you can take a vitamin D3 (25-hydroxyvitamin D3) supplement along with a vitamin K2 supplement.
Suppress Your Stress
Stress is inevitable when you’re diagnosed with a painful disease like gout. However, this does not mean that you should let it get to you. If you do, your immune system’s sensitivity to cortisol (a stress hormone) weakens, leading to heightened inflammatory response. This results in out-of-control and worsened inflammation, increasing your chances of being affected with chronic disease.
Your body is placed in a “fight or flight” mode when it makes cortisol. This increases heart rate, blood flow and oxygen intake, and temporarily suppresses parts of your immune system. When this happens, there’s a decrease in your body’s inflammatory response to pathogens and other foreign invaders. This is why combatting stress is vital in maintaining good health.
If you’re not sure where to begin, try the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT works in the same way as acupuncture, but instead of using needles, you use your fingertips to tap and stimulate certain energy meridian points on the head and chest while reciting positive affirmations to yourself. EFT works well to remove emotional “scarring” and realign how your body reacts to emotional stressors in order to make diseases and ailments improve or disappear.
Be Down-to-Earth, Literally
Walking barefoot and connecting your body to the earth, makes you engage in a process called grounding or earthing. When you do this, you permit the free electrons from the earth to go into your body and exert their antioxidant properties to combat and counteract free radicals residing in your tissues.
What’s more, grounding makes your blood thinner and lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease. This is what makes it such a good technique for fighting illnesses like gout.
If you want to try grounding, you can start by exercising outdoors. If you live near a beach or somewhere close to a body of water, you’re in luck, as these locations are ideal for walking barefoot since seawater is a great conductor. A dewy and grassy area is also a nice place to begin grounding.
Get Enough Shut-Eye
It’s unfortunate that there are people who take sleep for granted. Making sure you get enough sleep per night benefits your health, since sleep deprivation increases your risk of catching disease and impairs production of your growth hormones, leading to premature aging.
How much rest should you get per night? Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard University, together with a panel of experts, examined 300 studies between 2004 and 2014 to come up with ideal recommendations.
What they found out was that young adults aged 18 to 25 and adults aged 26 to 64 needed seven to nine hours of sleep, while seniors aged 65 and older required seven to eight hours of sleep. Unsurprisingly, more sleeping time is essential for newborns, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Ultimately, the amount of sleep that you should get depends on you. Take into account your sleep needs, stress levels, and current health status. There are indicators that show that you might not be getting enough shut-eye: the tiring feeling you get even after you wake up in the morning or the constant urge to take a nap or two during the day.