No matter your age, taking good care of your health should be your priority. However, most people tend to neglect their joints until they notice they are no longer in top shape. With that in mind, here are some tips on how you should care for your joints to keep them healthy.
Have an anti-inflammatory diet
Eating healthily is of the essence for a variety of reasons. Not only will lean protein help you build strong muscles but a healthy diet can also help you shed some weight. Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D, through dairy products and fortified foods. You should also add some Omega-3 fatty acid sources to your diet, such as salmon and mackerel, as this can reduce inflammation. A good example of an anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean variety.
Maintain your ideal weight
For optimal joint health, you should work on maintaining your ideal weight. As carrying extra body weight can put more pressure on the joints, especially those that bear weight like the hips, knees, ankles, and back, you should look for ways to achieve an ideal weight. It can be done by modifying your diet and exercising.
Staying active is also necessary to maintain the health of your joints. People that suffer from arthritis often fear that physical activity will result in pain or cause further damage to their joints. However, the body is made to move and movement can actually ease stiffness and reduce joint pain. So, don’t just sit back and expect your joints to feel better. Instead, keep moving.
Now that you know that exercise benefits your joints, you can start coming up with various low-impact ways to stay active. From running errands around town on foot to going jogging every morning, there is a lot you can do. What is more, you can also think about activities such as swimming and cycling that you can do with friends and family, no matter your age.
Strengthen your muscles
Something else you should be doing to have healthy joints is strengthening your muscles. As joints are supported by muscles, they need to be strong. Weight training is a great way to increase your joints’ stability and decrease pain. However, you need to pace yourself. If you overdo it, you can hurt yourself and cause more damage.
Give range-of-motion exercises a try
If you’re already dealing with arthritis, you could be faced with a limited range of motion. To maintain your current range and try to improve your flexibility, make sure you routinely put your joints through a wide range of motions. That means bending, extending, and rotating each of the joints. Furthermore, this can also relieve pain and stiffness.
Use proper posture
To prevent added stress and reduce injury to your joints, you want to use the correct posture. Be mindful of your stance when you’re standing, sitting, or doing repetitive motions. Be extra careful if you’re carrying or lifting something heavy.
Drink more water
In addition to your diet, you also want to intake plenty of fluids. Seeing as how water makes up about 80% of the cartilage in our bodies, dehydration can wreak havoc on the joints. With that in mind, you don’t want soda or energy drinks. Stick to water. Drink whenever you feel thirsty and increase your intake when exercising and when it’s hot outside.
If you’re a smoker, it’s high time you kicked the habit. While smoking is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and cancer, it can also affect your joints as it increases inflammation in the body and makes it more difficult to recover from an injury. Quitting smoking is obviously not easy for some people, so consider looking for support in order to increase your chances of succeeding.
Listen to your body
Finally, to stay healthy, it’s vital that you listen to your body. So, if you notice some unusual pain during light exercise, don’t push yourself. Take it easy and if the pain doesn’t subside, don’t hesitate to contact your physician and schedule a checkup. They can provide you with a diagnosis and possibly some medication that will help you feel better.
Keeping in tune with your body should be a priority for all, especially as we start to advance in age. Joint pain is just one of the many potential ailments that can affect us later in life. Don’t ignore your joints and only start paying attention to them when you’re in pain. Keep the above-mentioned tips in mind in order to ensure a healthier and more productive life in the long run.