The joints in your body such as those of the hands, shoulders, hips, knees and foot help you to move. Imagine yourself having these joints in your body unable to provide you their normal function of movement like bending your elbows, knees and back and wiggling your hips. You will then realize how important these joints are.
The most common joints condition is osteoarthritis, which is caused by damage to the cartilage, the smooth tissue that covers the end of the bones in a joint. The cartilage facilitates the movement of the bones of the joints as they glide over each other and also cushions the impact of movements. Aging, injury, improper posture and even being overweight can hasten the wear and tear in the cartilages in your joints that can lead to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis results to pain, swelling and restriction of the range of motion in your joints.
Tips for Proper Joint Care
Keeping your joints healthy will require that you make them strong and stable together with the bones, muscles, ligaments that they work in conjunction with. Follow these simple and practical tips.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Many overweight and obese people have joint problems because part or all of their weight is borne by their joints in the knees, hips and back. Extra weight puts more stress in these joints and causes them to wear faster.
Do regular exercise for healthy joints.
Physical exercise will help you control your weight to a healthy level. Studies have also shown that aerobic exercise can reduce swelling aside from improving your cardiac capability. If joint problems bother you, you can opt for low-impact exercise like swimming.
Strengthen your core.
In your exercise routines, include those that will strengthen your abs, chest and back muscles. This will result to better balance and prevent falls that can be dangerous to your joints.
Build muscles that support joints.
Get into weight training exercises to help build and strengthen muscles that support your joints especially in your the spine, hips, and knees. These joints support your body weight and take a pounding when you move. Stronger muscles will avoid your joints to do all the work.
Know your joints’ limits.
Perform only exercises and work that your joints can take. Refrain from overdoing physical activities that can bring pain and injury to your joints. Good muscle-building pain a day after exercise is normal but there are serious pains that can be damaging to your joints.
Maintain proper posture.
Bad posture like slouching is not good for your joints. Stand and sit straight to take care of your joints from your neck to your knees. Sitting for long periods of time can increase the risk for joint pain. Having a sedentary lifestyle leads to more stiffness in your joints.
Use safety gears to protect your joints.
Always wear protective gears like helmet, elbow pads, wrist pads and knee pads when playing sports especially high-risk ones. A single accident may cause injuries to your joints that may keep you out of action for a long time.
Eat right for healthy joints.
Healthy diets are good for the health of your bones, muscles and joints. Get enough calcium and vitamin D for your bones. Foods such as milk, yogurt, kale, broccoli, figs, and fortified foods like almond milk and soy milk are good sources of calcium. Examples of vitamin D rich foods are dairy products, cereals, and fortified foods like soy milk and almond milk.
Protein is good for your muscles. Good sources of protein are lean meat, beans, seafood, legumes, nuts and soy products.
Vitamin C and other antioxidants have been found to help keep your joints in good shape.
Take good care of your joints to keep them healthy and continually providing their important functions in your body.