5 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Joints Healthy
Healthy joints can help you stay mobile as you age. Although you may not be able to completely prevent injury or avoid health conditions such as arthritis, there are some things you can do to safeguard your joints throughout your life.
Here are a few steps you can take:
- 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.
- Keep moving.
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.
- Stay strong.
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.
If you are just starting an exercise routine, be sure to speak with your primary care provider first to go over any important considerations.
Walking for Fitness
Walking is often the easiest way to get started - or remain - being active. There are many benefits to walking for fitness. Here are some tips for getting the most from your walking program:
- Walk briskly. If you can sing, speed up. If you can’t talk easily, slow down.
- Choose good walking shoes with padded soles and good arch support.
- Don’t use hand or ankle weights. They can cause injuries.
- Walk indoors if the weather is bad. Use a treadmill or walk inside a shopping mall.
Rock the Walk Challenge
Eager to begin? Consider signing up for Fort HealthCare's Rock the Walk Challenge coming up this fall!