Your joint health is just as important as your overall physical health. Taking good care of you joints can help manage arthritic pain, and can even help protect your joints from accelerated wear and tear.
Your joints are what give your body the ability to move. A joint is the junction where two bones meet. Cartilage and fluid protect and cushion the bones to ensure that they do not come in direct contact with each other. This connection allows you to bend your knees, bend over to tie your shoes, and grasp a pen with your fingers. Without the mobility of your joints, your body would be stiff and have very limited range of motion. Because of the vital role your joints play, it is important to maintain good joint health even if you are already dealing with chronic arthritic pain.
Wear and tear of the joints in the body is not uncommon. This can happen over time and after many years. An acute injury can also cause damage to your joints, inflammation, and stiffness to the affected area. Being overweight can put a great deal of strain on your joints, specifically the joints in your back and lower extremities. This can lead to wear and tear of the cartilage that protects the bones of the joints. When the cartilage and fluid that cushion the joints are lost, this leads to the bones then rubbing against each other causing pain and inflammation.
Whether used as a preventative measure, or to stop existing arthritis from becoming worse, taking care of your joints is imperative.
Watching your weight will help relieve some the pressure from the joints, decreasing the chances of wear and tear as well as decreasing pain associated with arthritis. By carrying more body weight around we are putting the weight baring joints such as out hips and knees under stress. Watching the foods you eat and replacing sugary beverages with clear, fresh water can make all the difference in decreasing your overall body weight.
Exercise for joint health is another way to avoid stiffness and control excessive weight gain. While this is not always possible for everyone, aerobic exercises have to most benefit to weight control. Some research even suggests that aerobic exercises can aid in reducing joint swelling that can lead to painful movements.
The reality is that any movement is beneficial to your joints. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can cause painful joints and stiffness. Try to move around multiple times a day. Even light walking has been known to be beneficial to managing joint pain and stiffness. Water aerobics are a great way to get a workout with minimal pressure and strain to already sore joints.
Understanding your body’s limits is another way to promote good joint health. Often times we push ourselves above and beyond our physical limits which can directly impact the health of our joints. Lifting heavy weights frequently, contact sports and even our posture can all impact the health of our joints. Being mindful of our body mechanics and always maintaining your body’s safety are imperative when talking about the health of our joints.
Strong muscles, specifically strong core muscles will help protect our joints. By having a strong core, we are taking some of the weight off of the joints by allowing our muscles to hold our bodies upright as opposed to letting your joints take the brunt of the blow.
Diet can also play a large role in your joint health. Calcium is a major factor in maintaining strong, healthy joints. Foods such as milk and broccoli are high in calcium and can be added to your diet to ensure you meet the required calcium intake based on your age, sex and weight. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
Supplements are also helpful in ensuring that you are taking in all the required dietary nutrients. Vitamin D and C are also helpful in maintaining good joint health. Talk with your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen to ensure that it is safe for you.
Some foods are fortified with vitamins such as calcium and vitamin D. Often cereals, yogurts and even almond milk can be fortified with vitamins to help you get your full days recommended intake.
We often take our body for granted and we fail to realize just how wonderful and complex the mechanics of our body is. By paying more attention to our joint health, we are minimizing the wear and tear of our joints and we are better equipped to manage our joint pain.