The health and functionality of our joints strongly affect our mobility. Without healthy joints, we will find it difficult to move our wrists, hips, knees, and ankles – parts of our bodies that we often use to perform our daily activities.
Unfortunately, many of us are suffering from joint-related diseases such as arthritis.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), 54.4 million adults have been diagnosed with arthritis or related conditions in the United States alone from the years 2013 to 2015.
So, how do you prevent this from happening to you? And if you are already suffering from joint-related problems, how can you alleviate the symptoms?
Fortunately, there are tips and techniques that you can do to manage or prevent your risk of joint injuries and diseases. Read on to find out how to keep your joints healthy!
Keep Yourself Active
So, we’ve been told tons of times to practice an active lifestyle. And there’s no reason not to agree that regular physical activity can do wonders for our health.
Aside from its health rewards such as better weight management, reduced risk of diabetes and cancer, improved sleep quality, and enhanced brain function and mood, regular exercise can prevent joint damage, too!
A routine physical movement or workout can help ease stiffness in your joints, and reduce your risk of hip fractures and falls, which can cause life-changing, adverse effects.
So, squeeze in some time for exercise and savor its benefits to your health and joints! The Arthritis Foundation recommend low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, and cycling.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Keeping a healthy weight is necessary for the optimal health of your joints. Excess body weight may cause stress and pressure to your joints, increasing your risk of joint problems.
One research found a link between weight changes and pain and functional status in people with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. The study suggests weight loss efforts, especially among overweight patients.
Watch What You Eat
Since your body weight can significantly affect your joint health, it is essential to also pay close attention to your diet.
Aside from eating nutritious foods that will help you manage your weight well, you can also add anti-inflammatory foods to your regular nutrition.
Since inflammation is a common cause for joint diseases, getting more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet might help.
Some of the anti-inflammatory foods that you can consume, which are also packed with other essential nutrients and health perks, include tomatoes, green leafy veggies, nuts, berries, olive oil, and fatty fish.
By eating these foods, you’re not only making your joints healthier, but you’re also sure to feel better in general!
Increase Your Vitamin D
Aside from calcium, vitamin D also plays a crucial role in bone health. In fact, it is an essential nutrient for calcium absorption.
You can get your vitamin D supply from sun exposure, and vitamin D-rich foods like salmon, cod liver oil, oysters, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
You can also take vitamin D supplements. If you want to follow this route, though, it is best to speak to your doctor first regarding supplementation, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking certain medications.
Avoid Wearing High Heels
Unless it is mandatory in your job, avoid wearing high heels as they can stress and strain your feet and knees, putting you at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Tip: If you can’t ditch the heels entirely, at least keep your flat shoes handy.
Wear your comfortable pair when you’re at your desk, inside the car, or during dress down days, and change back into your heels when you need to see the boss or a valued client or have a meeting at the boardroom.
Reduce the Weight of Your Load
Carrying heavy loads may cause harm to your joints and muscles. So, reduce the load of the things you carry around, especially if you have to bring it for extended periods.
If heavy loads are inevitable, it’s recommended to use trolley or roller bags. These bags provide functionality and convenience, plus you won’t have to lift bulky stuff anymore.
Nix Your Sedentary Habits
Say bye-bye to your old sedentary ways! Watching TV programs for hours on end not only hampers you from moving but also increases your chances of overeating.
So, instead of turning your favorite series on, why don’t you pick up your mat and do your workouts? It’s not only good for your health and body but will make you look better as well!
Savor More Vitamin C
It’s tempting, we know, but it can be dangerous, too! Processed foods like sodas, chocolate bars, cookies, and packed chips taste so delicious, but unfortunately, they lack essential nutrients and fiber.
So, instead of reaching for heavily processed foods for snacks, pick a healthier alternative like an orange fruit.
This citrus fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants that boast anti-inflammatory powers, reducing your risk of developing osteoarthritis.
You can also snack on other whole foods that are rich in antioxidants such as pecans, blueberries, spinach, and yep, dark chocolates!
Let Your Wrists Rest
Most desk jobs require you to face your computer the entire day. And since this is the case, it is important to provide your wrist ample protection, too. Thankfully, wrist rests come in handy!
Padded wrist rests not only provide comfort for your wrists but prevents them from bending awkwardly as well, reducing your risk of joint and muscle tiredness and pain.
You already probably know that smoking is dangerous for your health, and this cannot be emphasized enough.
Not only can smoking increase your risk of developing respiratory diseases but rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and fractures, too! So, nix the butt. It’ll not only make you healthier, but it’ll save you cash as well!
Do Your Stretches
Did you know that stretching exercises can do wonders for your health? Regular stretching has been found to reduce anxiety, improve blood circulation, and promote healthy digestion.
What’s more, it trims your risk of injuries! Stretching exercises provide your muscles, tendons, and joints for all the work demanded by your daily activities. As a result, your risk of strains, sprains, and injuries is decreased.
Take a Hike
It’s a great, refreshing feeling to be outdoors and get in touch with Mother Nature. So, why not take a hike?
Apparently, hiking offers tons of amazing health perks from promoting weight loss to boosting your mental health to preventing your risk of heart disease.
It also helps to build stronger bones and muscles, and improve your overall physical health and wellness.
Speaking of stretching, let’s talk about yoga. This ancient practice deserves the buzz it has been receiving for the last 5,000 years because why not? Yoga provides tons of amazing benefits for the mind, body, and soul!
Regular yoga practice can enhance your body’s flexibility and strength since yoga poses involve a lot of stretching. Aside from making your muscles and joints stronger and more pliable, yoga also tones your body, enhancing your appearance on the outside.
Take Your Vitamins
Some people take supplements to get the nutrients they miss from lacking proper nutrition and keeping a sedentary lifestyle.
Supplements such as multivitamins containing calcium, vitamins C, E and K, and folic acid may help boost your joint health. Just keep in mind our friendly advice regarding supplementation.
Do Your Warm-Up Routine
Remember this, especially if you have or are planning to start an active lifestyle: Don’t forget your warm-up exercises.
Warm-up routines are an essential part of any physical activity, particularly intense sweat sessions. They give your muscles and joints ample time to prepare for the labor they are about to do.
Performing warm-up exercises before your workout will help to ensure your muscles and joints are working optimally and are safe from injuries.
Provide Protection for Your Joints
Having some form of protection for your joints may help improve its condition by reducing pressure, and prevent injury. Wearing wrist, knee or elbow pads, braces or guards may be useful.
To be certain, though, it’s best to seek your doctor’s opinion. Also, stay away from activities that may put more stress and pressure on your joints, and have an adequate amount of rest.
Have a Good Massage
Body massages can help alleviate muscle tension and reduce fatigue. A little treat won’t hurt and your body deserves it, especially if you’re beat with work.
You can research which massages target the muscles and joints, and treat yourself to a soothing, relaxing massage or spa.
Listen to Your Body
One of the best ways to care for yourself is by listening to your body. If any of your body parts begins to feel painful, it may be telling you something, especially if the pain lingers for long.
Most of the time, your body will tell you what it needs. If it calls for rest, it’s wise to take a break from your workout routine for a while. If symptoms persist or worsen, consult with your physician.
See Your Doctor
A routine check-up is highly advised at least once a year to make sure you are in top shape and your joints are healthy.
You can ask your doctor about joint protection tips and tools if there are any, and get a go signal for your diet and lifestyle changes.
Healthy joints play a crucial part in the optimum performance of your daily tasks. Make sure that you keep them healthy by following some (if not all) of these tips, and make the most out of them!