How Do You Keep Joints Healthy As You Age?
Realistically most, if not all of us tend to take our joints for granted. Perhaps this habit developed because we are unaware of how important their roles are in performing our regular body movements and how a particular lifestyle could affect the chances of getting arthritis.
It’s easy to take your joint health for granted in your younger years, but as we get older, most of us become increasingly aware of how precious our mobility is until they start feeling painful. It’s important to know how to keep them healthy and strong because damage to the joints is often extremely painful and sometimes irreversible. Extreme joint pain can aggravate and lead to long-term conditions such as arthritis.
To put it simply, joints are the connections between bones. They are located there to join bones, cartilages and teeth to one another. From this, we can gauge that our entire physique is made up of joints. Each one of them is designated with their own distinctive shape and structure to control the range of motion between the areas that it links. With this feature, joints help muscles and body parts to move in various directions. The common term used for joints in medical fields is articulation.
As per mentioned, these articulations are located all over our bodies, but one of the most obvious ones include our knee joints. The knee joint is one of the strongest and vital joints in our bodies. It assists the lower leg to move in coordination to the thigh, all while carrying the body’s weight.
This joint helps us to carry out regular to-dos such as walking, climbing up the stairs and sitting. It becomes agitating when we start to feel pain or tension around our knee joints, as it affects our day-to-day activities.
Luckily there are a number of strategies you can adopt now to help maintain your existing joint health and/or manage your osteoarthritis symptoms, which may be particularly beneficial if you’re affected by these issues:
- Joint redness
- Joint swelling
- Joint warmth
- Limping due to pain and discomfort
- Loss of range of motion
- Stiffness and locked – unable to bend and extend the knee
- Joint weakness
Common joint pains can be caused by certain factors, such as:
- Joint inflammation (arthritis)
- Injury affecting any of the ligaments or other muscles surrounding the joint
- Excessive vigorous exercise
- Bone cancer
The age factor is the common cause of joint pain which means that it is a natural happening and almost inevitable. This is because as we grow older, the cartilage (soft tissues that cover and protect areas at the end of the bones) slowly begin to wear, making the bones exposed to each other.
When we move often, the bone joins grind against each other and cause friction, resulting in pain and inflammation.
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent age-related joint problem, affecting around one in five women and one in 10 men over 60 years old. This typically develops over an extended period of time – some experts estimate at least 10 to 20 years.
To combat these issues, there are strategies which you can adopt now to help maintain your existing joint health and/or manage your osteoarthritis symptoms such as:
Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight places extra strain on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees, ankles, hips, and back. And according to the Arthritis Foundation, every pound of excess weight you carry results in an additional four pounds of extra pressure on your weight-bearing joints. By achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, you can limit the amount of stress on your joints and reduce your risk of joint damage.
Staying active can help to reduce stiffness in your joints. You should move around often during the day and avoid staying in one position for too long. Low-impact exercise — such as walking, swimming, cycling, strength training, and stretching — can help your joints stay mobile and may even help you shed some extra pounds.When doing any type of exercise, you should be sure to protect your joints by taking it slowly at first and wearing proper protective equipment, if necessary.
Strong muscles and bones provide support and stability for your joints. Adding strength training exercises to your routine can help you build muscles that keep your joints safe and mobile.Your strength training routine should include core-strengthening exercises for your abdominal, back, and chest muscles; a strong core can help to prevent problems with balance, falls, and other accidents that could cause joint injury. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking or running, can help you to maintain strong bones.
Use correct posture.
Proper posture can prevent added stress on your joints and reduce your risk of injury to the surrounding muscles. Being mindful of your posture while performing repetitive motions, sitting, and standing — and being especially careful if you are carrying or lifting heavy objects — can protect you from a painful injury or joint damage.
Don’t forget about diet.
Eating healthy may improve your joint health and help you lose excess weight. Eating lean proteins can help you build strong muscles. You can keep your bones strong by eating foods with calcium and Vitamin D, such as dairy products and other fortified foods. Fish, such as salmon and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation in your joints. Other foods, such as tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, berries, and nuts may help to reduce inflammation.
The best way to care for your joints is to keep them and your muscles, ligaments, and bones strong and stable!