When performance of your activities of daily living are successful and within your ability to maintain good health, you have baseline fitness. Looking specifically at your joints, when you do your everyday lifting, bending, sitting, walking, running, pushing, pulling and throwing, do your joints remain stable? Are they already aligned or are they misaligned? If they are aligned, when you use them, do they remain aligned? How do you know if your joints are aligned in the first place? How do you know if you have healthy brain-to-nerve-to-muscle-to-joint feedback?
Of course you may come to see me and I’ll answer these questions for you. However, by using the following criteria, you should be able give yourself a fairly accurate assessment.
- Do you have joint aches or pains? When your joints miss-align, their state of abnormal mechanics cause them to grind and chafe, to become inflamed and they hurt.
- Do you have muscle aches or pains? When your joints miss-align, their associated nerve endings will report this to your brain. You brain will respond to this abnormal feedback by contracting certain muscles. Long-term muscle shortening strangles the muscular blood supply, cutting off the exchange of oxygen (anoxia) and nutrients with carbon dioxide and other waste products. Contracted, oxygen-deprived, waste-saturated muscles hurt.
- Are your joints stiff? Contracted muscles stiffen your joints.
- Are your muscles weak? Poor neuromuscular control of your joints weakens your muscles.
The stability your joints depends upon their ability to function with strength, flexibility and comfort. Your joint-mover and joint-stabilizer muscles must be reporting and receiving normal information to and from your brain. While your joint mover-muscles remain active, your joint stabilizer muscles must effectively oppose the actions of your joint-movers to keep your joints aligned and healthy. This is joint fitness in a nutshell.