Joint health is important to maintain a good quality of life. If you have pain in your joints you would find it difficult to move and carry on the activities of a normal life. You would not be able to enjoy sports activities or other fun outings. Movement is important for your overall physical health as well as mental health. Therefore, it is crucial that you take care of your joints such as knees, hips, wrists, ankles, neck etc., and keep your joints healthy.
Joints problems can occur due to injuries and diseases such as arthritis over which you may not have much control over. However, you can make certain changes in your lifestyle to take better care of your joints. Read on to know effective ways to keep your joints healthy and functioning.
Keeping your weight under control is key to maintain healthier joints especially the knee joints. The knee joints are weight bearing joints and all of the weight of the body is carried by your knees. According to the Arthritis Foundation, every excess pound of weight on your body puts four times the pressure on your knee joint. Maintain a healthy BMI or Body Mass Index to keep your joints healthy. Also, if you are obese or overweight, you will develop other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, liver and kidney problems that will indirectly affect your joints and mobility.
As the saying goes – you are what you eat! Therefore, your diet is important to keep your joints healthy as well as maintain overall health. High-calorific diets are detrimental to your health and make you gain weight. A healthy diet is important as you grow older as your body’s metabolism slows down with age. Cut down on your red meat intake and replace it with healthier options of white meat such as chicken or fish as they are good for maintaining muscle tone. Add lean protein, fruits and vegetables in your diet to have a well-balanced meal.
Water is a natural cleanser and takes helps to eliminate the harmful toxins from our body. Water also helps to keep our joints flexible and lubricated for better movement. If your body is not hydrated enough, it will start to pull the water from the joints and cartilages that will affect the joints. Therefore, keep yourself hydrated but do not drink excess water.
Often we do not eat the right foods that give our bodies the much needed calcium and vitamins. You may consider taking calcium tablets in addition to drinking milk and consuming dairy products. This will help to supplement your diet with vitamins and calcium which are good for bones and keep your joints healthy.
Exercising regularly is a great way to stay in shape and keep your joints working. Exercise helps to regulate your blood pressure and increase circulation to the various organs of your body. You do not need to have a rigorous routine that takes up a lot of time and energy every day. Instead, you may plan for regular walks, jogs, aerobic exercises or cardiovascular activities a few times a week. The operative word is “regular” and you need to stick to your schedule diligently.
Your joints suffer from wear and tear as you grow older. Your muscles grow weaker as do the bones. If you want your joints to be healthy and strong, you need to begin with strength training exercises. Strong muscles and bones are necessary to provide support and stability to your joints. Strength training includes exercises that target the muscles of the back, chest and abdomen to make them stronger and prevent problems related to balance and joint injuries during falls.
Neuromuscular training helps you to improve control over your muscles and aids in mobility. The neuromuscular exercise method combines various kinds of movement for better functionality and helps older persons to boost the functionality of their joints.
Inflammation of the joints can become an extremely painful and chronic condition. You can consume certain foods that have the ability to counter inflammation in your body and in your joints. These foods are called anti-inflammatory foods and include leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach), berries (strawberries, blueberries), nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, chia seeds), fatty fish (salmon, trout, sardines). Eating these foods is important to keep your joints healthy.
Sitting for long hours, improper mattress support, not using ergonomic furniture, maintaining a bad posture are all reasons that can make your joints vulnerable. Improper posture adds stress on the joints and makes them prone to injuries. Relieve the pressure on the joints with proper postures especially when you are performing repetitive tasks. There are many problems that occur due to wear and tear of joints and joint replacement surgery may be required in extreme cases.
Wear protective padding for elbows, knee pads and other gear when going for activities such as cycling to avoid injuries from falls, wear and tear and minor accidents. It is recommended that you wear knee supports or arm bands that help you to prevent injuries when playing sports or jogging etc. Not only do they prevent injuries but lessen the onslaught of wear and tear of joints.
Joint health is important to help you live an active life free from pain and complications. If you follow a healthy lifestyle coupled with a nutritious well –balanced meal, you will be able to stay clear of joint problems. If you are suffering from diseases such as arthritis, you will be able to lessen their effect on the joints by staying active and following the effective methods that help to keep your joints healthy.
Dr. Prateek Kumar Gupta is highly trained arthroscopy and sports surgeon in AOSM. He treats sports injury and other orthopaedic injuries including foot, ankle, hip, elbow with special interest in knee and shoulder issues that hinders patient/players quality of life.