Your joints are important connections between your bones! They enable your body to move, bend, turn, flex, and twist. As you age, your joints age, too. The cartilage and fluid (which acts like motor oil to lube up the joints) can degenerate leaving you without cushioning between your bones. This loss of cartilage and fluid can lead to arthritis, grinding pain, swelling, and trouble moving. The good news is that if you keep your joints healthy now, you can help reduce the wear and tear on them later.
Here are some tips for healthy joints:
Caring for your joints means caring for your whole body…
- Eat healthy foods in adequate portion sizes. An ideal body weight is one of the best things you can do for your joints, especially those that bear weight, like your knees and hips. More weight means more stress on your joints.
- Moving is key to overall health and particularly good for your joints. Walking, swimming, and biking, can raise your heart rate and keep your joints from getting stiff.
- Exercising helps reduce the pain and stiffness in your joints and helps decrease overall tiredness. Everyone should exercise, especially people with arthritis. You just have to think about how you work out. If running aggravates the arthritis in your knees and makes them ache, switch to a less intense and less weight-bearing exercise like yoga.
- Moderate exercise can give you big benefits. Weight control keeps extra stress off your joints, muscle tone supports those joints, and more fluid joints provide easier movement.
- Don’t overdo it! Particularly if you’re just starting to exercise, or getting back into a routine. Begin gradually, if your joints hurt – modify your activities, or ask a trainer or physical therapist for help.
- Listen to your mother! Sit up straight and don’t slouch. Standing and sitting up straight safeguard all of your joints (and make you look leaner)! Keep good posture in mind when you are lifting items, too. The old advice to bend your knees, not your back to lift an item still holds true.
What can I do for my stiff joints?
- If your joints ache- think heat and ice. Using heat in the morning relaxes the muscles and reduces stiffness. Using ice at night lessens joint inflammation.
- If you need more relief, non-prescription medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen, can help control pain and swelling.
- Topical ointments with capsaicin (found in hot chili peppers) or menthol can reduce pain when it is applied to the joints.
- Comfortable splints, braces, wraps, and gloves can help provide support, protect joints and reduce inflammation.
If your joints are swollen and achy, a brace or molded splint can also help. Depending upon the level of support you need, splints and braces can lessen the effects of arthritis, enable your muscles and joints to rest, reduce pain and inflammation and protect your joints.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!
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Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.