Top 5 Tips for Healthy Joints

Tips for Healthy Joints

If you experience joint pain on a regular basis, it’s highly likely that you’re not enjoying the best quality of life possible. Joints are the connections between bones that allow movement to body parts like your knees, hips, shoulders, neck, and elbows. Over time, it’s common for joints to wear down, causing conditions like osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease affecting over a third of adults age 60 or older.

However, aging doesn’t mean you have to be subjected to pain every time you move or that you have to deal with a decrease in your mobility because of that pain. Knowing what causes joint pain, as well as how to make the right types of lifestyle changes, can help make a difference in maintaining or improving joint health.

The Main Symptoms and Causes of Joint Pain

Normal wear and tear or overusing a particular joint throughout your lifetime can lead to pain and restricted movement. Or, injuries to cartilage can cause damage to your joints and make everyday activities difficult. Joint pain can range from being fairly mild to extremely debilitating and can last for just a few weeks to several months depending on whether the pain is acute or chronic.

It’s important to keep in mind that your joints are just one component of your entire musculoskeletal system, which also includes your bones, muscles, and ligaments. The best way to improve joint health is to ensure the rest of the musculoskeletal system is also stable and resilient.

When you’re visiting the doctor looking for joint pain relief, the first step is to diagnose and treat the condition responsible for the pain. This could be osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, strains or other injuries, and so on. If you know you’ve injured yourself in some way, or your joint pain is accompanied by redness, swelling, or tenderness, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. Otherwise, you can find some relief by taking over-the-counter pain medicines, icing the joint a few times every day, or apply a heating pad to increase circulation.

How to Improve Joint Health

While properly managing and treating painful joints can be effective, you should also take steps to protect your joints as you age to avoid debilitating pain in the first place. Here are five tips to make sure you’re keeping your joints as healthy as possible:

  1. Lose some weight. If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to shed some pounds, there’s no time like the present to put that plan into motion. In fact, losing weight can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for better joint health, as extra weight creates an added strain on your joints. Losing as little as 10 pounds may help reduce joint pain.
  2. Get regular exercise. Ease some of the strain on your joints by keeping your muscles strong and limber. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine by finding an exercise you enjoy. For instance, low-intensity workouts like swimming or walking are easy on the joints. Also, make sure to stretch before and after every workout to warm up and cool down your joints and tendons.
  3. Move around hourly. We can spend up to six to seven hours a day sitting, and this type of sedentary lifestyle can have an array of negative effects on your health, your joints included. Set reminders to move around every hour, which can help keep your body fluid and in good shape.
  4. Add more calcium and vitamin D to your diet. Because strong bones are key to joint health, make sure you’re incorporating plenty of calcium, which helps build stronger bones, into your diet. Also, adding vitamin D as a supplement is a great way to help your body absorb calcium, plus it aids in bone growth.
  5. Give up unhealthy habits. It’s time to ditch unhealthy habits, especially if you’re a smoker. Smoking is harmful to your body in so many ways, and people who smoke tend to have a lower bone density than those who don’t. This leads to a higher risk for developing osteoporosis and a higher risk for fractures, too.

Specialized Senior Health and Fitness Programs at Advent Christian Village

At Copeland Community Center in Dowling Park, members of Advent Christian Village have access to personalized health and fitness programs from a highly trained staff. Plus, you can swim laps in the indoor pool, join in a water volleyball game, or reach your strength-training goals on state-of-the-art Keiser air pneumatic exercise equipment. Contact us to schedule a tour or to request more information.

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