If you’re like most people, you don’t think much about your joints until they start complaining. But your joints deserve attention long before they cause continuous discomfort. The truth is that prevention really is the best medicine when it comes to joint pain. Check out these 9 tips for healthy joints:
1. Keep Your Body Moving: If you have arthritis1 it is likely that you are avoiding any type of physical activity or exercise. You might be concerned about it causing additional damage or pain but the opposite may be true. Our body is designed to move and the joints allow for it. If you have joint pain or stiffness, moving your joints can actually help. It can also strengthen the muscles around the joints and help you maintain a healthy weight.
2. Protect Your Joints: Everybody should be protecting their joints but it is especially important for those who have arthritis. Protecting your joints helps to decrease pain and reduce the burden or stress that may be placed on the joint. You can do so in a number of different ways.
- Pay attention to pain signals
- Avoid activities that stress joints or increase pain
- Pay attention to proper body mechanics
- Balance activity and rest; don't overdo activities
- Check out available assistive devices or mobility aids
- Maintain a healthy weight
3. Maintain Your Ideal Weight: If you want to optimize the health of your joints, optimize your body weight. When you have too much bodyweight you tend to put stress on the joints, especially those that are weight-bearing. Every pound of body weight that you lose is a fourfold reduction in the forces on your knee when a step is taken2.
4. Try Low Impact Exercise: Regular physical activity and exercise do not need to be hard on the joints. When you exercise with low impact, you minimize the stress but still get the benefits of a workout. The arthritis foundation3 says that low impact exercises are better for your joints and can include aqua sports, social sports, walking, and cycling.
5. Strengthen the Muscles around Your Joints: It is important to keep the muscles that support your joints strong. In order to do so, build strength through weight-bearing exercises. Although it is a good idea to strengthen your muscles as part of a weight-bearing exercise regimen, you should not overdo it. When you do it properly, it increases the stability of the joints and decreases pain.
6. Try Range Of Motion Exercises: A limited range of motion is often associated with arthritis. To improve your range of motion, put your joints through their full range of motion. Bend, rotate and extend the joints. These types of range of motion exercises help relieve stiffness and pain along with improving flexibility.
7. Try an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Inflammation is associated with arthritis and is behind many of the symptoms. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can decrease inflammation by avoiding foods that can cause it. At the same time, you can eat foods that decrease inflammation directly. A Mediterranean diet is often suggested.
8. Stop Smoking: If you smoke, it is important to stop. The American Association of Orthopedic Society says: "Most people are not aware that smoking has a serious negative effect on your bones and joints4." Smoking can increase your risk of fracture due to osteoporosis. It also increases your risk for tendinitis and bursitis. If you smoke, you are more likely to have low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis as well.
9. Take A Glucosamine Supplement: The glucosamine in your body helps keep up the health of your cartilage - the rubbery tissue that cushions bones at your joints. But as you get older, your levels of this compound begin to drop, which leads to the gradual breakdown of the joint. If you're looking for a supplement that may ease your joint pain try NATURELO Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM.
The Mayo Clinic | Patient Care & Health Information | Diseases & Conditions | Arthritis
Weight loss reduces knee‐joint loads in overweight and obese older adults with knee osteoarthritis , 28 June 2005
Arthritis Foundation: 15 Ways to Work Out With Arthritis
Smoking and Musculoskeletal Health: Effects of Smoking on Musculoskeletal Health