No matter what age you are, taking steps to protect and rebuild joint health is important. An integral part of this is adopting healthy lifestyle habits that support joint health.
Don’t know where to start when it comes to keeping your joints healthy and pain-free? Here are eight easy things you can do to ease the pain, reduce inflammation, and protect joint health for years to come. Also, find great relief from the best joint supplements that are available on the market to improve your joint health.
1. Watch Your Weight
We’ve all heard about the many reasons why it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Keeping the extra pounds off is a good start at avoiding health complications like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. There are other important reasons to watch your weight, including joint health.
Any extra weight that you carry around is going to put added pressure and strain on your joints. In every one pound of excess weight, you’re putting up to four pounds of pressure on your joints. Just being 10lbs overweight equals to 40lbs of extra pressure. Over time, this type of stress can cause joint damage and chronic pain.
2. Exercise Regularly
Flexible joints are important for many reasons. Among them are that a full range of motion helps to improve circulation and prevent injury. Many people with sore joints tend to avoid physical activity because they’re afraid it will cause discomfort or injury. High impact sports are a bad idea, but low impact activities like walking, swimming, and yoga are perfect for joint health.
3. Build Muscle for Strong Joints
Your body is an incredible system that is designed to work synergistically. Your joints depend on the surrounding muscles for support. When those muscles are weak, your joints lack the support they need to stay strong, healthy, and free from injury. A regular routine of weight-bearing exercise that helps build supporting muscles will lessen stress and strain on joints.
4. Stand Tall with Great Posture
Do you know how your back and neck start to hurt after you’ve spent the day slouching? Your posture affects the alignment of your entire body, and joints are often one of the first places you’re going to feel the stress of poor posture.
Make a point of standing tall when you walk and sitting with a straight back when at your desk. Choose ergonomically designed chairs that support your back and help keep you sitting up straight and tall.
5. Eat to Support Joint Health
A diet full of junk food isn’t going to do anything positive for your joint health. Diet can have a profound effect on joint function and inflammation. Foods that cause inflammation like refined sugars, processed foods, and foods that are high in saturated fats, are instant inflammation inducers. For optimal joint health, you should opt for a diet that reduces inflammation as much as possible.
The best diet plan includes foods that are known anti-inflammatories, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Ginger, turmeric, and green tea are also impactful additions to an anti-inflammatory diet. Making sure you get plenty of calcium, whether from dairy or calcium-rich plant-based foods will help keep supporting bones and muscles in good working order.
6. Use Ice When It Hurts
There is often some confusion about whether to apply heat or ice to painful, achy joints. The answer really depends on why your joints hurt but most often, the answer is ice.
Heat works when your joints are still and need lubricating. However, joint pain is often due to inflammation, which is going to respond more favorably to ice. Apply ice to swollen joints for 10-20 minutes. You can repeat throughout the day as needed for relief.
7. Build Up Core Strength
So much of your body’s strength comes from your core. A strong core will help to support all the muscles and joints of the back, neck, hips, legs, knees – just about everywhere. To work on your core, commit to adding low impact, core building exercises into your routine. Think along the lines of planks, crunches, pushups, and weight-bearing exercises that you can feel in the core muscles.
8. Don’t Ignore Joint Injuries
Finally, don’t wait to treat a joint injury. Even minor inflammation can escalate, reduce mobility, and put you at a higher risk of future injury. Joint injuries, such as sprains and tears can create serious problems if left untreated. If you feel that you’ve injured a joint and the pain doesn’t go away – and stay away – on its own within an hour or two, it’s time to head to the doctor.
Joint Health FAQs
A: The 8 tips that are listed here are a great place to start. Keeping joints healthy requires long-term lifestyle changes, like eating a diet that’s packed with non-inflammatory foods and regularly participating in low-impact physical activity. If you’re experiencing joint pain, it’s also important to find out why, so you can make the best plan of action in regaining joint health.
A: One of the most important things you can do to strengthen joints and ligaments is simply to keep your body moving and by following a healthy lifestyle. If your joint health isn’t that great, keeping exercises low-impact is key until you build some strength. Pay extra attention to building a strong core and focusing on muscle groups that surround areas where joint pain is an issue for you.
A: The best joint pain supplements and vitamins are the ones that reduce inflammation and enhance joint lubrication. Vitamin D and calcium are essential. Most of us don’t get enough vitamin D from the sun or fortified food sources, so a supplement is often needed. You can take a calcium supplement also if your diet is lacking in calcium-rich foods. Additional supplements to consider include turmeric, glucosamine, and omega-3s
A: Your diet should be rich in foods that prevent or ease inflammation and help support healthy levels of calcium and other essential nutrients. High protein diets are also good for relieving inflammation, as long as the focus on lean, healthy proteins. A few examples of foods that support strong ligaments include:
- Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and kale
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grains
A: A focus on joint health should be part of any healthy lifestyle. Joint health is important throughout our lives, but it becomes even more critical as we age. When our joint health declines, one of the main issues is the loss of mobility. Not only can this take away from your quality of life, but limited mobility also makes you more prone to accidents and injuries.
How do you Take Care of your Bones and Joints?
The best answer to this question is that you need to commit to it. To keep your bones and joints in tip-top shape, make sure you’re at a healthy weight and take steps to maintain it. Cut out all the processed, inflammation-inducing foods, stay physically active, see your doctor when you experience pain, and consider adding daily supplements that support joint health.
Joint pain goes beyond having a sore knee. The constant pain and discomfort, coupled with limited mobility, can take away from your quality of life. Joint issues tend to get worse as we age, so taking steps to adopt a healthy lifestyle that supports joint health should be among your top health priorities. These 8 tips are a great foundation for living an active, pain-free life for years to come.