What are the ways to keep my joints healthy? How can I prevent them from getting worn out early? How can I prevent arthritis?
These may be just a few of the questions you have wondered about.
Our joints are always on the move. Bending, twisting, wringing, turning, curling – there are a number of different movements the joints have to bear and sustain when we perform our daily activities.
It should therefore come as no surprise that our joints begin to wear off as we get older.
For some of us, it can take years and only affect us very late in life. For some of us, the joints can get worn out a lot earlier.
Painful joints can be very distressing. Simple activities required for daily living can become difficult.
It is therefore necessary to take the right steps to keep the joints healthy and supple.
Here are 6 ways to keep your joints healthy.
6 Ways To Keep Your Joints Healthy
There are some simple ways you can make sure that your joints stay healthy.
#1 – Keep Moving
If you want your joints to stay healthy, get moving.
Sitting or standing for long hours can be bad for your joints. The more you move, the better it is.
Many of us work in jobs where sitting for long hours is needed. Be it in from of a computer screen or at a till in a bank, the long hours of continuous sitting can make the joints stiff and painful.
Sitting in front of a computer for long hours can cause back problems, usually due to poor posture. Constant typing on the keyboard can lead to a condition called repetitive strain injury. This is where the joints around the wrist become very painful.
If this is the type of job you are in, stand up from time to time and walk around for a minute or two. Some people advise that movements be performed every 30 minutes. This will get the blood flowing to the joints and keep them healthy.
#2 – Eat Well
This goes without saying. A healthy diet has been proven time and again to keep your body strong and your mind sharp.
The same is true with your joints.
Joint tissues and cartilage rely on calcium and vitamin D to keep strong and healthy. Calcium is easily obtained through foods such as dairy products (mild, cheese etc.). Vitamin D is obtained through exposure to sunlight.
Eat foods that are rich is calcium and multivitamins. Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is now recommended. Broccoli, yogurt and figs are a good source of calcium.
If you eat non-vegetarian food, then most of you will have sufficient calcium in your diet.
However, if your diet is poor, then you may require calcium supplements. The use of calcium supplements has come under some skepticism over the last few years, so make sure you speak to your doctor about whether you should take them.
Eat vegetables that are bright and colorful, such as carrots, peppers etc.These are rich in phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants which can fight joint damage.
#3 – Add Omega 3 To Your Diet
Omega 3 supplements have been shown to help improve the health of your joints.
You can get omega 3 fatty acids through your diet as well, but it usually requires you to eat fish.
Clinical studies have shown that regular consumption of omega 3 fatty acids can help keep the joints strong. It does so by improving bone formation and reducing the breakdown of bone.
In fact, in patients with osteoporosis, a prescription for omega 3 fatty acids is now quite common. If you are not taking one, you must certainly consider it.
There are many omega 3 supplements that are available in the shops and online on Amazon.
If you prefer to go the natural route, then make sure you eat 2 portions of oily fish such as salmon or tuna every week.
As some may find this difficult, doctors often recommend omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
#4 – Get Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. It is essential for calcium to be absorbed into the bones.
In other words, vitamin D makes bones stronger.
A majority of the Indian population is vitamin D deficient. There is no clear reason for this, but it appears that covering ourselves up when venturing outside the house is the primary reason. Pollution probably has a role as well.
Low vitamin D levels can lead to low calcium levels in the bones. In turn, this can reduce bone mineral density. This leads to osteoporosis.
If you are looking to build strong bones, then make sure you have your Vitamin D levels checked.
If your levels are low, then it can be easily corrected through oral supplements.
If you wish to correct your vitamin D levels naturally, then consume foods that are fortified with vitamin D such as cereals, eat fatty fish like tuna and mackarel and consume cheese and egg yolks.
Not everyone enjoys these foods though.
Some doctors advise sitting out in the sun in the early hours of the morning for about an hour. This might help, but there is no guarantee.
Instead, ask your doctor if you could take a supplement that will correct it easily. An average of around 1000 IU a day is often sufficient to maintain vitamin D levels.
Here is a good article on Vitamin D, if you wish to learn more.
#5 – Lose Weight
The heavier you are, the greater the stress you place on your joints.
According to WebMD, with every pound (half kilogram) of weight you lose, you reduce the stress on your joints by 4 pounds (around 2 kgs).
Now that’s significant.
If you are overweight, then it is time to take the right steps towards losing weight.
Come up with a good diet and exercise plan, and you could lose weight in a safe and effective manner.
If you are struggling to lose weight, then try and meet with a dietician. They can guide you regarding calorie intake, the ideal low calorie foods and what and when you should eat certain foods.
Alternatively, talk to your doctor about how much weight you should lose to stay healthy and reduce the strain on your joints.
Maintain a healthy weight and you can keep your joints healthy for years to come.
#6 – Wear Comfortable Footwear
You may not realise it, but wearing footwear that are not comfortable can damage your joints.
For example, women who wear high heeled shoes most of the time increase their risk of joint problems 10 fold. This is especially in those whose heels measure more than 3 inches.
If you like long walks or jogging, make sure you buy shoes that provide the appropriate arch support for the feet. In other words, these shoes must prevent your foot from stretching in odd ways during your exercise routine.
Consider wearing insoles for enhanced comfort.
Wearing the right pair of footwear can protect your joints and keep them healthy.
Keeping your joints healthy is not difficult. All it takes are a few simple lifestyle changes. Make these changes today to avoid pain in the future.
Latest posts by Dr Vivek Baliga B (see all)
- Parkinson’s Disease – A Definitive Guide For Patients and Carers - January 6, 2019
- 10 Rich Sources Of Calcium In Your Diet - December 17, 2018
- Numbness In The Feet? Here’s Why… - November 28, 2018