Your Guide to Healthy Joints: What You Can Do to Protect Your Joints at Every Age
Whether we like it or not, living our lives puts our joints through a lot. Each of us has hundreds of joints in our bodies, cushioned by connective tissue and cartilage, which allows us to move easily and efficiently. Both injury and age can cause cartilage to wear down, forcing the bones to scrape together. This triggers discomfort in our joints, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
Paying Attention to Bone and Joint Health
Most of us would link joint discomfort to adults, yet it can start at any age, making it a health issue we should be paying attention to from childhood. We want to keep our joints and bones strong and healthy throughout our lifetimes in order to live active lives, so taking care of them is vital.
According to Dr. Sundeep Khosla, director of the Aging Bone Muscle and Joint Program at the Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic, “physical activity is important for loading the bones and helping them develop as strong as they can.”
For kids, this means that parents should be choosing milk over soda and a diet of calcium-rich foods such as cheese, seeds, yogurt, dark leafy greens, almonds, and milk plus plenty of activity. The same is true as they become teens but with increased amounts of calcium and vitamin D, as the growth spurts that occurs in the teen years can cause weakened bones and joints.
Most young adults face challenges in staying on track by replacing calcium rich dairy with specialty coffees, increasing the amount of packaged and processed foods and changing activity levels due to college, work, growing families, and travel.
Older adults face issues with the fact that we are aging, and our bodies have changed. We need to increase calcium intake and stay active which can be difficult when caring for family members.
Tips to Keep Joints Healthy
In order to live an active lifestyle, it’s important to start early and be consistent in taking care of our joints. Unfortunately, once our cartilage is gone, there is no way to get it back, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do things to preserve what we have and keep joint discomfort to a minimum.
Weight management. Doctors agree, one of the most important things we can do throughout our lifetime to preserve our joint is to stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight puts added stress on joints and breaks down cartilage.
Watch what you eat. Eating a well-balanced diet that includes omega 3 fatty acids, plenty of colorful fruits, dark green vegetables, whole grains and plenty of water should be the focus.
Take supplements. Making sure to get enough calcium, vitamin D and omega 3s can be tough so taking supplements can ensure you’re getting enough.
Making fitness a priority. Staying active over the long haul requires flexibility and variety in your activities. Keeping it fun and challenging is the key to long term success. Doing the same thing over and over can cause cartilage to wear down on those specific joints making it a challenge to continue. Experts say changing up your workouts can give you balance and preserve joints.
Avoid injury. None of us want to get injured, but when you’re active, it’s bound to happen. The key is making smart decisions and paying attention to your surroundings.
Keeping your joints healthy is no mystery. The important thing is to start young and being consistent throughout your lifetime.
Health & Wellness Writer Bio
Maria Pease is a freelance health & wellness content writer based in Southport, North Carolina. She has written about health & wellness for more than twenty-five years and has partnered with a variety of companies doing the most amazing work. She loves being able to write about health topics that can change lives for the better.