It Starts With Energy Balance
You probably heard of the concept of calories in vs calories out. This is the law of physics that determines your balance of energy. In other words, how much you eat vs how much you burn off.
This is often discussed when referring to fat loss or muscle growth, but it’s relevant for bone health as well. If you manage your body composition, you’ll manage your joint health. The balance of calories you should consume is based on where your current body fat levels are at.
If you’re overweight or obese, losing fat is the primary way to improve your joint health. Imagine dropping 20 pounds of fat tissue off your frame. You will have less useless inflammatory tissue and less total stress on joints and connective tissues. This is especially true in people with metabolic syndromes like type-2 diabetes, so the more unhealthier you are, the more you need weight loss for joint health. A bit of a now brainer.
But it’s not a matter of always eating less. Muscle mass also supports bone health, so given a healthy body composition and body weight, more muscle is generally better. In fact, strength training can reverse bone mineral losses even in postmenopausal women who tend to have huge joint health complications.
If you strength train and want to build a lot of muscle, an energy surplus is generally best, meaning you will have to gain weight to optimize joint health. You can technically gain muscle without eating in a surplus, but your rate of muscle growth will be slower.
Including exercise to implement your intended energy is better as well. If you’re losing fat, exercising allows you to eat more food to reach the same deficit which allows for more nutrients. This is also why slower, less extreme dieting is also better for bone health. You can eat more food which prevents your body from getting too catabolic.
As for lankier people who need to build muscle, you must include strength training as your exercise. Without strength training’s ability to stimulate additional muscle growth, eating in a surplus would simply expand fat tissue which is counter-intuitive to having healthy bones.
So before moving forward with the article, know that exercising is critical, but so is caloric intake. If you’re overweight, you need to eat in a deficit. If you’re a skinnier person, you should eat in a surplus for joint health.