You want to be healthy. But when you deal with arthritis, inflammation, aches and pains it’s hard to maintain the active life necessary for overall wellness. Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce discomfort, protect your joints and regain mobility so you can enjoy the energy and freedom that comes with an active lifestyle.
Tips For Preventing Joint Pain
Alleviate pain and discomfort and lead the life you want to live with these helpful tips:
Maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight isn’t just about how you look; it’s about how you feel — not just emotionally but also physically. Losing a few extra pounds can make a world of difference to your joints. Research shows that losing as little as 11 pounds can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis by 50 percent. Even more astounding: An 11-pound weight loss will relieve almost 40 pounds of pressure off of your knees. That’s a serious load off and a significant step toward better health.
Take calcium. Strong bones are essential to joint health and overall strength. Calcium is a key building block for healthy bones, and when your bones are healthy you reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. The Institute of Medicine recommends the average adult should consume between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium per day. This can be taken in the form of a supplement or by eating calcium-rich foods like milk, yogurt, broccoli, kale, salmon, cheese, almonds and tofu.
Get Your omega-3s. Embrace the good fats! Studies show that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel as well as in certain nuts, seeds and plant oils help reduce pain and inflammation, and protect joints from cartilage breakdown. Three to four servings of these foods a week will give you overall health benefits and promote the active lifestyle you want.
Make stretching a daily habit. A 10-minute stretch leads to 24-hour benefits. Stretching lubricates your joints and improves your range of motion, which is essential to overall health. A combination of static and dynamic stretches helps your flexibility and strength, and should be done at the end of your workout or at the end your day when your body is warmed up. Stretching is one of the easiest ways to improve health because you will feel better very soon after you do them.
Warm up before you exercise. Protect your joints with a proper warmup before rigorous exercise. Aubrey watts, C.S.C.S., assistant strength coach at the National Strength and Conditioning Association, says that warmups “[increase] the body’s core temperature, mobility and muscle activation.” This loosens the tissues around the joints, improves the range of motion and guards against injury.
Buy good shoes. Good athletic footwear makes all the difference in the world. According to an article in Current Opinion in Rheumatology, “The right shoes or insoles can help decrease the pressure put on the knees and help with pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knee.” Before investing in a good pair of shoes, take advantage of the assessments offered by most athletic shoe stores so can you select a pair that fits well and provides the right support.
Find a good knee brace. Use a good knee brace to reduce the load and pressure on your joints. This support can prevent injuries during high-intensity activities and sports. It is also beneficial for rehabilitation as well as reducing pain and inflammation in arthritis sufferers. Different braces offer different levels of protection. Consult with your doctor to find the best one for you.
It’s never too late. Don’t let age or ability get in the way of living a healthier life. It’s never too early or late to start taking care of your body. Incorporate a few of these habits into your day-to-day routine, and start enjoying all the feel-good benefits that they bring to your body and your overall sense of wellness.