Nurturing your joint health can help you stay mobile as you age. While some conditions such as arthritis may not be avoidable due to genetics or injury, there are many things you can do to help maintain the health and flexibility of your joints.
LOSE 10 POUNDS
According to the Arthritis Foundation, every pound of excess weight you carry exerts about four pounds of extra pressure on the knees. Even just losing 10 pounds can eliminate a whopping 40 pounds of extra pressure on your knees. Conversely, if you are 50 pounds overweight, you are having to endure an extra 200 pounds of pressure on your vulnerable knee joints. Finding your healthy weight can help your hips, ankles, and knees stay stronger and you’ll have less pain.
EXERCISE 3 HOURS A WEEK
Low impact exercise is key to mobility as you age. Joints that are unused get stiff and swollen. Just a small amount of exercise each day can greatly improve your range of movement. Try walking in a mall, water aerobics, or yoga. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start slow, in ten or fifteen minute segments and work your way up to 150 minutes a week minimum.
DO STRENGTH TRAINING
Making the muscles around your joints stronger makes your joints healthier. Walking, running, and water aerobics are all good ways to start exercising your core; you can even try Pilates. The goal is to strengthen your entire body, so your joints don’t have to do the heavy lifting alone.
COMMIT TO PREVENTION
Proper posture can also help prevent added stress on your joints, reducing your risk of injury to the surrounding muscles. Help joint health in your spine by sitting properly, joint health in your knees by bending and lifting properly, and joint health in your shoulders and elbows by reaching carefully and not bearing all of your weight on your hands or elbows. Look out for repetitive motions that can cause slow joint damage.
EAT JOINT FRIENDLY FOODS
Eating healthy can help with both losing weight and improving joint health. Foods with lean proteins and healthy oils should form a cornerstone, with fresh colorful fruits and vegetables providing important vitamins and nutrients. Eat plenty of dairy if you can, or supplement with calcium if you need to. Anti-inflammatory foods are great for joints so don’t forget the berries and nuts.
If you are in pain from a joint injury, call our office for a consultation with Dr. Strasburger. He can recommend the appropriate treatment, whether it’s arthroscopic surgery to clean out an affected joint, or holistic alternative pain relief like PRP injections or iovera.