The Importance of Healthy JointsConditions & Diagnosis, Exercise & Fitness, Nutrition | February 9, 2016
Your joints are the connections between your bones that allow you to bend your elbows, knees, neck, hips and more. Like our bones, as we age it’s common for our joints to start to wear down and cause conditions like osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that affects over a third of adults age 60 and older. Or, overusing a particular joint throughout our lives can also result in pain and lead to restricted movement and flexibility. Sometimes, our joints can become so worn down that even the simplest of movements, like reaching for a glass on a shelf, can be nearly impossible.
You might be getting older, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be subjected to a life of painful movement and decreased mobility. It’s never too late to start making lifestyle changes that can improve your quality of life.
Strong Bones and Healthy Joints
Having strong bones goes hand in hand with having healthy joints. Your joints are just one part of your musculoskeletal system to be mindful of keeping strong; in fact, the best way to care for your joints is to keep your muscles, ligaments and bones resilient and stable.
Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight range for your body type is the most important thing you can do for your joints. Obesity is one of the major risks of developing osteoarthritis, as our joints have to work much harder when we are carrying extra weight. In fact, research has shown that with each extra pound we gain, a person puts four times more stress on their knees. This is a reason why knee surgery or total knee replacement is so common in older adults who are overweight. When you lose weight, the pressure on your joints will get reduced and can also decrease your risk for osteoarthritis.
Improving Joint Health and Bone Strength for Osteoarthritis Prevention
Start off by making some simple lifestyle changes to your daily routine to begin alleviating some of the pain you’re dealing with in your joints. These same lifestyle changes, along with a few others, can also improve bone strength and help reduce your risk for future pain and injury.
- Exercise daily. Consistently working out on a daily basis will alleviate joint pain and aid in osteoarthritis prevention, plus it will also strengthen your bones! While exercising might at first seem difficult if you are already experiencing joint pain, over time physical activity will actually decrease your pain as inflammation in your joints is reduced.
- Choose healthy foods and snacks. A healthy diet helps you lose weight, and some food choices can even reduce joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. Enjoy joint and heart-health benefits from foods like salmon, olive oil and green tea.
- Take the right supplements. Your doctor can provide advice about supplements that can help alleviate joint pain, like glucosamine and chondroitin. Studies are still being conducted on these supplements, however, so make sure you talk to a physician first before adding them to your joint care routine. If you aren’t getting enough calcium or vitamin D in your diet, add these supplements in as well for strong bones.
Regardless of whether you already have osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, lifestyle changes can go a long way in improving your overall joint and bone health. Losing weight now can help you avoid knee surgery and other complications that can arise from joint degeneration.
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