Joints are an integral part of our body, we are able to move thanks to them. A joint is where two bones meet. Muscles attached to our joints generate the force needed to move and the joint facilitates the movement itself. As a result, it is important to keep our joints healthy as we depend so much on them in our everyday lives. Here are 14 ways to do so.
1. Keep moving
Regular movement will keep our joints active and stop them from getting stiff. Most of us will be quite active throughout the day due to commutes to work, going to the gym or the nature of our work, however, try and move every so often when doing stationary activities such as reading and watching tv.
2. Protect them during intensive activities
If you’re going skating or playing a sport, use pads on key joints such as the elbows, knees, and wrists to keep them protected in case of falls and accidents. This is even more important if you already suffer from sore joints.
3. Look after your weight
Being overweight or obese adds more pressure to joints, particularly the knees. Work on a diet and exercise plans – every pound of weight loss, takes four pounds of pressure off your joints.
4. Do your stretches
Stretching helps promote flexibility, allowing you to perform better before exercise or sports. Do not, however, stretch when your body is cold. Do a light warm-up such as a walk or a jog and stretch thereafter. This also reduces the chance of muscle injury during intense exercises. Remember to stretch after exercises too.
5. Do low impact exercises
Low impact exercises are those that go easy on the joints. Low impact isn’t necessarily low intensity. Swimming, cycling, and weight training are all low impact yet tough exercises.
6. Do some weight training
As we know, muscles are attached to our joints, thereby strengthening our muscles also have a positive impact on the joints. Strengthening your abs and back muscles will improve your balance so you’re less likely to fall. It is important to know your limits if your joints hurt 48 hours after exercises, you’ve probably overworked them. Talk to a specialist and they will recommend the best exercises and regime for you.
7. Practice your range of motion
‘Range of motion’ is a term used to describe which direction(s) a particular joint should be able to move. If you find your joints are getting stiff, practicing and making the joint move within its range of motion can help reduce inflexibility.
8. Eat lots of fish
If you’re a seafood fan, you’re in luck. Seafood is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes healthy joints and reduces inflammation, therefore, a natural painkiller for people who suffer from arthritis. If you don’t like seafood you can take fish oil capsules as an alternative.
9. Keep your bones strong
Naturally, healthy bones equal healthy joints. Calcium and vitamin D are really good for the bones and you will find them in large quantities in dairy products, broccoli, and kale or through supplements.
10. Maintain a good posture
Sitting and standing straight protects nearly all the joints in your body- from your neck to your knees. If you have a desk job, avoid slouching and try and fit in a walk during your break to get into the habit of sitting and walking in the right posture. Poor posture causes unnecessary stress to the body.
11. Lift and carry things properly
You can make a small change when carrying things such as shopping bags such as carrying them with your arms as opposed to the hands so the bigger muscles and joints are there for support.
12. Use ice to relieve joint pain
Never apply ice directly to the skin, but if wrapped in a towel or cloth, they can be effective in relieving joint pain and inflammation. Hold it over the area for about 20 minutes and it will numb the pain. Don’t have ice? Use frozen vegetable bags!
13. Use supplements
There are many supplements out there to help relieve joint pain. Speak to your doctor first to identify what is the best course to take, depending on your health, allergies and so forth.
14. Don’t ignore joint injuries
If you find that you have inflicted a joint injury, immediately seek medical help and, at the very least, stop any exercise or activity temporarily. Your doctor may recommend a brace to help stabilise the joint.