Sitting, standing, walking, turning your head, shaking your hips, playing the piano... all of these movements are made possible thanks to our joints. Those hips, knees, ankles, shoulders etc. all work hard every day. It makes sense that over time those joints wear down a bit. The cushioning between joints thins and bones start to rub against each other. As we lose muscle mass, our bodies call on the joints to carry more of the work of moving.
Joint pain is common but it's not completely inevitable. There are things you can do to slow down the wear and tear on your joints. The orthopedics department at Logansport Memorial has four great tips to keep your joints healthy.
Four steps you can take to improve your joint health
Maintain a healthy weight.Simply put, the more weight a joint has to carry, the more it wears down over time. The best thing you can do for good joint health is keep your weight down. Weight loss has even been shown to slow the progression of arthritis - it's never too late to lose some weight.
Strengthen those muscles.Weight lifting or strength workouts build up the muscles and ligaments that support your joints. Stronger support means less damage. The benefits of weight training don't stop there. Stronger muscles help improve your balance, limiting falls which can injure joints. Weight training has also been shown to prevent bone loss and increase bone density.
Exercise.Aside from the weight training mentioned above, regular cardiovascular exercise helps keep your joints healthy too. Moving more often helps keep your joints from getting stiff over time.
Before beginning any weight or exercise program, talk to your doctor. You'll want to make sure you select the right exercises that will help your joints - not aggravate existing issues. When starting, you may also experience some joint pain as things strengthen. Icing your joints after exercise is a great, pain-free way to reduce inflammation and improve your joint health.
Watch your diet.Certain vitamins and nutrients can help reduce symptoms of joint pain and reduce inflammation in your joints. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D are excellent choices. Try salmon or tuna for the fatty acids and vitamin D. Milk and egg yolks are more good ways to add vitamin D to your diet.
People who suffer from osteoarthritis experience chronic inflammation and joint pain that gradually limits the movement of the affected joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common source of joint pain in older adults but it is also the one that can be most helped by changes in lifestyle.