Triathlons are in a league of their own when it comes to joint stress. And, if you happen to be in this league, you may not realize the immense strain being put on your joints while training and racing.
But investing in the best collagen for joints can help.
Identifying the origins of your joint pain, and using preventative measures like collagen peptide protein supplements, are just a few ways you can keep your joints healthy for a triathlon.
Hydrolyzed collagen protein is one of the best collagen for joints, especially for athletes. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
Whether you’re trying to get ahead of your joint pain, or you are addressing existing pain, this article will help you find a few ways to keep your joints healthy as you train - and share how you can integrate the best collagen for joints into your daily diet and training routine.
What is the origin of my joint pain?
Joint pain is not uncommon for triathletes, especially when they swim, run, and cycle on a regular basis. Each activity puts different stressors on your joints, and while this may help distribute the load, continual use, overtraining, and joint deterioration can all lead to joint pain.
Knowing which activities irritate your joints can help you start to address the joint pain.
When you’re swimming, most of the joint load is within your shoulders. (Ever hear of the term Swimmer’s Shoulder)?
When you’re cycling, the joint load is often distributed throughout the knees, hips, neck, and back, and that’s where much of the pain from cycling starts.
When running, the majority of the joint force is through the hips, knees, and ankles.
Since running has a higher impact than swimming or cycling, running tends to instigate more joint pain, which is why nutrition tips for runners often include using the best collagen for joint pain.
And, when you’re a triathlon, you may experience a cocktail of all of the above.
The connection between collagen and joint pain
Before we get to our top 10 ways to keep your joints healthy for a triathlon, we should talk about one of the primary ways to promote healthy joints in athletes: collagen.
This is something our bodies produce naturally - but did you know that as you age, your collagen production naturally decreases?
Producing less collagen may not seem like a big deal at first, but collagen is the most prolific protein in your body. It helps keep your skin elastic and provides cushion and regenerative properties for many areas of the body.
Collagen is also what makes up a large percentage of your cartilage in your joints. So, as your natural collagen production slows, less collagen is applied to your joint areas. That’s why as you get older, you may experience more joint pain.
While supplementing with collagen is one of the easiest ways to replenish collagen stores in your body, not all collagen supplements are created equally. The best collagen for joint pain is one that your body can easily absorb, process, and apply to areas it is needed most.
10 ways to help keep your joints healthy for a triathlon
There are many ways to keep your joints healthy, but we decided to choose the ten that had the most evidence backing their success for athletes. To keep your joints healthy, you should:
1. Wear proper footwear
When running or biking, having the proper footwear can make a huge difference for the load on your joints. Investing in the right footwear for your body may influence muscle activation and gait patterns, which in turn, can reduce joint loading and pain.
There needs to be more targeted research to determine the best footwear for joint pain, but there is irrefutable evidence that specific footwear intervention can benefit athletes that experience joint pain.
You may also want to consider recovery footwear. Recovery footwear is essentially what you wear after a race or workout. This can be slip-ons or sandals constructed to absorb additional shock and take pressure off your joints.
2. Choose low-impact training options
Even though swimming and cycling are already relatively low impact, they can still cause joint pain. As you create a training plan for your triathlon, don’t shy away from other low impact workouts and cross training exercises.
If you are swimming, cycling, and running each week, you are already doing some cross training.
Cycling is ideal cross training for running because it helps to strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint, which bears a lot of the joint load when running.
In addition to the already existing cross training that happens when training for a triathlon, other low-impact activities can be added to improve strength and overall physical ability. Some low impact exercises to try include yoga, rowing, swimming, and the stairmaster.
3. Include warm up and cool down exercises
For many athletes, it is tempting to jump right into an intense workout - but your joints and muscles aren’t ready to do that. It is always recommended to warm up before, and cool down after, a race or training session.
A warm up could be walking and some stretching before you start your run. A cool down could be 10 minutes of stretching or yoga. Whatever the type of warm up or cool down you do, try to be consistent.
Some trainers will say that a cool down is more important for athletes that suffer from joint pain. Most recommend that you include 5-10 minutes to lower your heart rate by slowing exercise intensity, stretching, rolling out your muscles, and then considering additional body relaxation techniques like a bath or meditation.
4. Take rest days
It can be tempting to train harder and more often, especially as your race day approaches, but your body needs time to recover.
Taking regular rest days gives your body a chance to repair any damage to muscles or joints, which becomes easier when using the best collagen for joints.
5. Modify exercises
Every athlete has different abilities, especially in the early stages of triathlon training. Even if you are a seasoned athlete, modifying exercises can help you continue to reach your fitness goals without causing more pain or injuries as you do it. This is especially true if you start to experience joint pain or are recovering from an injury.
For instance, if you are having consistent joint pain when doing a specific exercise, like a squat, modify your movement to relieve stress on the joint that hurts.
Other exercises, like push ups, chest presses, and pull ups can also be modified. Try working with a trainer or physical therapist to help you find exercise modifications that suit your needs.
6. Focus on technique
Sometimes you may not need to modify exercises as much as you think, because the root of your joint pain is in your form and technique. Focusing on good form and technique in all of your training, whether it’s weight training, swimming or running, has an impact on your joint health.
Having good technique not only is good for your joints, but it can also enhance your performance as well. Whatever the exercise may be, having the right technique takes unnecessary stress off of your body by keeping your joints aligned.
7. Eat nutritious foods
Diet has a lot to do with overall joint health and physical performance. As a triathlete, you already may know that you require a lot of fuel during a race or long training days.
Fuel your body every day by incorporating nutritious foods and supplements like the best collagen for joints into your daily diet.
When focusing on overall nutrition for joint health, focusing on nutrient-dense foods that reduce inflammation may help. Look for foods high in omega-3s, antioxidants, vitamin C ( which helps with collagen peptide protein absorption), and plenty of healthy carbs and proteins.
8. Add collagen to your diet
To have a diet that supports joint health, integrating the best collagen for joints may help.
Collagen is the structural protein that holds many parts of the human body together. Things like skin, muscle tissues, ligaments, cartilage, etc. all need collagen to maintain proper structure and function.
Natural collagen production may begin to decline as soon as your early to mid twenties, which is when you likely started to notice that you had more joint pain or swelling after a workout.
By adding the best collagen for joints to your diet, you are giving your body the tools it needs to recover and repair joint structures, like cartilage, that would otherwise be lacking collagen. And, while there are plenty of foods high in collagen, it’s difficult to eat enough
While a supplement like Frog Fuel is among the best collagen for joints, supplements should not be seen as a “quick fix” for joint pain. Using the best collagen for joints can be a beneficial part of your workout routine and a nutritious diet, but if you’re already experiencing joint pain or have experienced a sports injury, you should create an injury recovery plan with the help of a health professional.
9. Use topical creams to reduce pain
As an athlete, sometimes joint pain just comes with the territory, but it’s important to know how to manage the symptoms as part of your care routine.
Using topical creams or patches to reduce pain can be a helpful recovery strategy, but beware of the temptation to medicate or use topical pain creams during training as this can lead to injury or further damage.
10. Go to physical therapy
Chronic joint pain can hold anyone back, especially athletes. That’s why seeing a physical therapist can be helpful if you are having tension, tightness, stiffness or joint pain during triathlon training.
A physical therapist will give you stretches and exercises to build up strength and flexibility in your joint areas, as well as help you correct postures and techniques that may be influencing your athletic performance.
What is the best collagen for joints?
Diet is tied directly to athletic performance and your whole body health. Sometimes it can be hard to get all of the nutrients you need from the food you eat, and that is where high-quality supplements, like Frog Fuel, fit into your life.
Integrating all of the tips listed above, and investing in the best collagen for joints may help keep your joints healthy for a triathlon.
Doing independent research about the best collagen for joints will help you decide which supplement is right for you. While you are researching though, make sure you are also consulting with a medical doctor before integrating supplements into your diet.
Here at Frog Fuel, we truly believe that hydrolyzed liquid collagen, or collagen peptide protein, is the best collagen for joint health, rapid workout recovery, and peak performance. Hydrolyzed collagen is a collagen molecule that has been broken down into smaller, more digestible pieces for optimal protein absorption. This makes them faster-acting and more bioavailable for your body.Frog Fuel collagen protein has taken performance supplements one step further. Our liquid protein shots are nano hydrolyzed, allowing you to absorb and digest them within just 15 minutes - which means you, and your joints, will be race-ready.