8 Tips to Keep Your Joints Healthy and Strong

8 Tips to Keep Your Joints Healthy and Strong

As you get older, having healthy joints can help you maintain increased mobility. You’ve got roughly 360 joints in your body, so it’s no wonder that some of them hurt from time to time. Although you may not be able to totally avoid injuries or health concerns such as arthritis, you can take steps to protect your joints starting today.

Keep moving throughout the day
It is not beneficial for your joints to spend the entire day sitting or standing. Physiotherapists say “motion is lotion”! Alternate between the two as much as possible to avoid stiffness and tension. If your job requires a lot of sitting, try to get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so. Make time for simple stretches throughout the day, whether at home or at work.

Maintain a healthy weight
You may not only like your "new look," but you will also feel better if you are able to reduce even a little bit of your body weight. Your knees are put under four times the amount of stress with every additional pound you gain. Conversely, losing even a small amount of weight will help your knees. According to research, decreasing just 11 pounds can improve joint health and reduce your risk of osteoarthritis of the knee by almost 50% and will take about 2 inches off your waist!

Eat your greens as part of an anti-inflammatory diet
Due to their high calcium content, popular salad bar vegetables such as romaine and bibb lettuces, broccoli, spinach, kale, or parsley might slow down cartilage breakdown and reduce the amount of bone loss that occurs with age. Just remember not to go too crazy with the salad dressing! Eating a diet that features a lot of foods that decrease inflammation will help your joints function smoothly.

Increase vitamin C, reduce caffeine
Reach for an orange – or a big glass of orange juice – if you're searching for a tasty treat. Vitamin C has been shown in studies to help decrease the progression of osteoarthritis. Alternatively, if you’re searching for that extra little morning boost, try to limit yourself to only that first cup of coffee as research has shown that caffeine can weaken your bones.

Don’t skip the warmup
Warm up before going to the gym, the pool, or the trails (or any other workout for that matter). Start slowly and gradually increase your speed after giving your muscles and joints at least five minutes to warm up. This will keep your body operating smoothly and provide optimal joint safety.

Be cautious with heavy loads - use correct posture!
To relieve some of the tension on smaller hand joints and spread the weight across bigger surface areas, use your largest, strongest joints and muscles when moving heavy objects. Use the palms of both hands or your arms instead of your hands while lifting or carrying anything. Keep items close to your body to reduce stress on your joints. When possible, slide objects rather than lift them to keep your joints safe.

Avoid high heels whenever possible
Unless you're a fashion model, you probably don't need high heels. According to experts, a 3-inch heel puts seven times more stress on your foot than a 1-inch heel. Heels also place additional strain on your knees, increasing your risk of osteoarthritis.

Stay strong but be smart
Arthritis is often associated with a restricted range of motion. You should put each joint through its entire range of motion on a regular basis to maintain or improve your range of motion. However, kickboxing and step aerobics, for example, have been shown to be hard on joints. Reduce your impact by switching to low-impact activities like biking and swimming, which provide the same calorie-burning advantages without the toll on your joints. Aquatic activities are great for maintaining flexibility and range of motion in a manner that is very joint-friendly and low-impact.

Before starting any new routine or activity, be sure to check with your physician to ensure that your body can handle what you plan to do.