Wear-and-tear on your joints is a natural part of aging. Fortunately, there are many techniques and good habits you can use to help preserve your joints so you can stay active and mobile as you get older. By working closely with your physician and following these tips for healthy joints, you’ll be able to reduce the severity of age-related aches & pains and keep your joints in good working order.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Keeping your weight within a healthy range is one of the best things you can do for joint health. Excess body weight places extra strain on weight-bearing joints, such as your hips, back, and especially knees. Fortunately, studies have shown that for each pound of body weight lost, there is an exponential reduction in knee joint stress – so even a little weight loss can help.
Have you ever noticed your joints feeling stiff after staying still for a long time? When you move your joints, it stimulates the flow of synovial fluid – which your body uses to lubricate and nourish joint tissue. Using your joints regularly (without overtaxing them) keeps them saturated with synovial fluid, keeping them limber and less prone to pain. If you enjoy lots of sedentary actives, like reading or watching TV, make sure to get up and move every hour to keep your joints healthy.
Even better: low-impact fitness routines like yoga, tai-chi, swimming, Pilates, biking, and weightlifting can benefit your joints in many ways. Not only can exercise help you maintain a healthy body weight and limit joint stiffness, but it also strengthens your muscles and bones to provide additional support and stability for your joints.
Use Correct Posture
Pay attention to your posture when you are sitting or standing to prevent added stress on your hip and spinal joints. Be especially careful when doing lifting or carrying motions. Make sure to pick up items using your legs, not your lower back, and keep the weight evenly distributed by holding items close to your body and centered between your shoulders. Also, keep in mind that you can naturally improve your posture by strengthening your core muscles through exercise.
Nutrition & Supplementation
Eating a nutritionally balanced diet is critical for overall physical health. Your joints in particular benefit from nutrients like Vitamin D, calcium, and protein, which your body uses to build strong bones and muscles. If you suffer from chronic joint pain or arthritis, your rheumatologist may recommend incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, such as turmeric, green leafy vegetables, berries, and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and nuts. There are also a variety of supplements that studies have shown to be beneficial for joint health. However, always consult with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet.