Lifestyle Changes Can Help You Maintain Or Improve Your Joints Health
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
Most people do not think about their joints until a health issue affects them. Your joints are essential for your health and mobility. But, as you get older, they may become more susceptible to wear and tear. Caring for your joints can help you to prevent or manage age-related changes.
Why should you keep your joints healthy as you age?
Joints are connections between your bones that allow movement. These complex meeting points comprise cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. They also include specialized fluids that lessen friction and cushion your bones. Healthy joints help you make movements such as walking, bending, lifting, and grasping effortlessly and painlessly.
Difficulties with your joints can happen at any age, but as you get older, your joints may experience natural wear and tear. Age-related musculoskeletal changes are partly to blame. It includes less bone density, synovial fluid, cartilage, and muscle mass. These changes can lead to joint disorders or injuries such as arthritis, sprains or strains, and tendinitis. Maintaining joint health can help prevent changes affecting your mobility and well-being.
What is the risk of joint deterioration?
When joints break down or deteriorate, it may cause inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Symptoms can limit your ability to do certain activities. In having joint problems, you are most likely to have trouble:
Tips for maintaining joint health
Getting older does not mean joint pain, stiffness, or limited mobility is unavoidable. No matter your age, there are vital steps you can take to protect your joints, such as:
Try to maintain a healthy weight - Research shows that obesity is the primary risk factor for osteoarthritis. Extra pounds can stress weight-bearing joints, including your back, knees, hips, and ankles. So, maintaining a healthy weight can keep your joints in better shape. Keep in mind that a healthy weight is different for everyone. Speak with your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
Get regular exercise - Some people worry that exercise can cause or worsens joint problems. Adding exercise to your routine can keep your joints lubricated and healthy. Staying active may prevent or reduce joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Regular exercise may also protect against cartilage damage.
Experiment with these exercises for joint health:
Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet
Chronic inflammation raises your risk of developing various conditions, like arthritis. Fortunately, certain foods can help fight inflammation in your body, including your joints. Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include:
Make sure that you are drinking enough water
Joint cartilage consists mainly of water. Adequate water intake helps to make synovial fluid in your joints. This gel-like liquid protects your bones from wear and tear. But how much water should you drink every day for ideal hydration? Generally, you can let your thirst be your guide unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider.
Warm up before and cool down after exercise
You might be tempted to skip the warmup or cooldown when you exercise. But ignoring these critical steps in your workout routine could raise your risk of joint injury. Studies have found that just 15 minutes of warming up and cooling down can reduce the risk of injuries.
Experts recommend starting your workout slowly to raise your heart rate and warm your muscles. To cool down, you can slowly lower your training intensity until your heart and breathing rates return to normal. Then, while your muscles are still warm, finish your cooldown with stretching exercises. Try dynamic stretches for your warm-up and static stretches for your cooldown.
If you smoke, consider quitting
Smoking cigarettes may be harmful to your bones and joints. For example, smoking raises the risk of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Research suggests that people with arthritis who smoke cigarettes may have more cartilage loss and pain than those who do not. So, if you smoke and want to improve your general and joint health, there are effective ways to quit smoking.
Do supplements work to keep joints healthy?
Many advertisements claim you can boost your bone or joint health with vitamins and supplements. But research on their effectiveness is mixed.
Research shows that the following supplements offer short-term improvements in arthritis pain:
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