Thanks to our joints our bodies can move freely and painlessly. A joint is the connection between two bones, the joints themselves and surrounding alignments allows our bodies to move. Thanks to them we can bend our elbows and knees, wiggle our hips, turn our heads, wave and bend fingers and bend our back. The smooth tissue on the joint is called cartilage and synovium, the lubricant synovial fluid is the cushion in our joints that prevents the bones from rubbing against each other.
However, as we age, expose the joints to injuries and/or put strain (carrying too much weight) on our body, our joints and their cartilage can wear and tear, making those movements harder. This kind of wear and tear can lead to more serious health problems such as arthritis. That is why it is essential to take care of your joints, ney, the whole body in order to ensure that your are in a healthy state. The following focuses specifically on joints and how you can prevent joint injuries.
Watch Your Weight
Maintaining healthy body weight is desirable to ensure overall good health and wellbeing. However, by keeping a healthy weight range will be helping your joints. We have weight-bearing joints, such as hips, knees and back, and those are the ones that keep us up straight and enable movement. However, if you put too much weight on them, problems are bound to start occurring with your joints. The more weight your joints carry, the more wear and tear they endure and can lead to severe injuries, pain and other issues. However, maintaining healthy weight can reduce pressure on your hips, knees and beck and help prevent injuries.
There are myths that exercise puts too much pressure on joints and wears them down. That is not true, and exercising can help us keep our joints healthy. However, you should be careful with which exercises you do. There are suggestions that aerobic exercises and other cardio workouts (the ones that get your heart rate up) can reduce joint swelling. On the other hand, if you do experience any joint issues you should choose exercises that won’t give them too much pounding. So, instead of high impact exercises, you might prefer low impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling.
Another thing to consider is avoiding sitting still. When you remain glued to your computer chair or couch all day long, you are actually increasing your risk of joint pain. This is because less movement means more stiff joints, so it is advised to move as much as possible. Change your positions frequently, take breaks from the computer to just walk around and warm up your joints, or you can even try standing desks occasionally.
Build Your Muscles
If you have strong muscles then you have something to support your joints. On the other hand, when the muscles are weak, your joints are the first one to feel it, especially your knees, hips and spine which are the main joints that support (carry) body weight. So, the goal is to build your muscles, and weight training is a good way to start given that these exercises can keep your muscles and ligaments strong. You can always do exercises from the comfort of your own home, just make sure to take it easy and to be careful. The alternative is to sign up with a trainer who can guide you to do the exercises in the correct way so you don’t hurt yourself.
Strong Core Will Help
Besides building strong muscles, you will need a strong core. Include core exercises into your routine that will concentrate on working out your back and abdomen. Strong abs and back help you keep your balance and prevent any damage to joints.
However, you have to be very careful when exercising. Some activities might be too tough on your joints at first, so make sure to go slow. If you experience any pain, modify the exercises to avoid stress on joints.
Practice Good Posture
Slouching and bad posture is bad for your joints. While we stand or sit up straight we protect our joints all the way from the neck to our knees. So, good posture can help guard your hips and back muscles. Another situation where good posture is important is when lifting or carrying things. If you carry a backpack, make sure to have supports (back and shoulder straps) when you are lifting something heavy, lift from your knees, and never carry all the bags in one hand, distribute the weight.
Adjust Your Diet
In order to keep your joints healthy, you will need to prevent inflammation. And if you reduce or prevent inflammation you are keeping arthritis symptoms at bay and improving the overall health of your joints. This is why you should add anti-inflammatory meals in your diet. Avoid foods that will increase inflammation, such as junk food, high sodium foods and other processed foods. Instead, look for ingredients from a Mediterranean diet and add plenty of fish, leafy veggies and fruits to your diet.
Also, add more vitamins to your diet, specifically, increase an intake of vitamin D and calcium. These two nutrients are required for healthy bones. In fact, vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium better, feeding your bones. To get vitamin D, go out more and be in the sun, add it through your diet or take supplements. And if you’d like to try supplements, first talk to your doctor to know how much you should take each day.
We already know that smoking is unhealthy, but smoking can also increase the risks of osteoporosis and bone fracture. Smoking can increase the risk of injuries involving tendonitis or bursitis. So, it is safe to say that there are plenty of reasons for you to stop smoking, one of them being the health of your joints and bones.
Our joints are the most important parts of our bodies. They keep us agile, strong and healthy. That is why you should do all that you can to prevent wear and tear and to keep them healthy. Luckily, there are many ways to do this, so try some of them and your joints will thank you.