5 Ways to Keep Your Joints Healthier
You have joints all over your body—your knees, hips and elbows are the ones you are likely think of first. But wherever there is a connection between two bones, there’s a joint that allows your body to move. From your fingers and toes to your neck, back and shoulders, keeping your joints healthy helps you avoid pain and stiffness and allows you to keep doing the things you love to do.
Here are five tips that can help improve joint health:
- Maintain a healthy weight—One of the best things you can do for your joints is to lose weight. This is especially true for weight-bearing joints such as knees and hips. Research shows that every extra pound of weight lost results in a four-pound reduction in stress on the knees.
- Move more—Exercising on a regular basis keep joints healthier. Strength-training makes your muscles and ligaments stronger, which helps support your joints. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping and has been shown to help reduce joint swelling. And you shouldn’t only focus on formal exercise. Moving more throughout your day helps prevent your joints from getting stiff and painful.
- Eat a well-rounded diet—What you eat can affect the health of your joints, as well as your bones and muscles. Aim to get adequate amounts of protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C and other important nutrients.
- Know your limits—It’s very beneficial to move as much as possible to keep joints healthier, but it’s also important to know your limits. If walking makes your knees hurt, switch to a lower-impact activity such as swimming. If you need to lift something and you think it’s too heavy, ask for help or get someone to do it for you. Modify any exercises or activities that cause joint pain.
- Protect your joints—You can’t avoid every type of strain, sprain or injury, but you can take steps to protect your joints during repetitive or high-risk activities. Wear a brace on your wrist if work activities cause wrist pain. Protect your knees and elbows with padding during activities such as skating or high-impact sports.
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Date Last Reviewed: August 15, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS