When most of us consider the ravages of age, we worry about our hair turning gray, our skin starting to sag, and our bones becoming brittle. But thanks to hair dye, retinal, and calcium supplements, we have the knowledge and products on hand these days to address the most prevalent, visible, and potentially problematic signs of aging. That said, many people do not realize that deterioration of the joints is an issue of equal importance that is often overlooked until it is too late to reverse the damage. Sure, we’ve all heard of arthritis, but most of us see it as a manageable condition, failing to realize that it could be even more detrimental to our ongoing health and mobility than some other, better-known issues like loss of bone density. However, there are plenty of ways to keep your joints strong and healthy throughout the course of your life. Here are a few options you’ll want to consider.
Exercise. You might be under the misimpression that exercise will damage your joints. In truth, extreme activity and high-impact workouts can certainly lead to all kinds of bodily harm. But when you realize the impact that impact has on your joints, you can find alternatives that benefit rather than harm your body. And one of the best ways to protect your joints is by building a support network of strong muscles that can help to prevent injury. One great area to focus on is your core (abs and back), which aids in balance and overall body strength.
Watch your weight. Every pound you pack on adds strain to your joints, which must continue to operate under the extra burden. So if you’ve added a few pounds here and there over the years and you’ve started to notice your knees and hips aching in response, it might be a good time to think about changing your diet and exercise habits. You’ll find, in most cases, that losing even 5-10 pounds can have significant and positive results where the state of your joints is concerned.
Walk tall. Believe it or not, poor posture can contribute greatly to joint pain and deterioration. And whether you slouch when you’re sitting or standing, you may be causing harm to joints in your entire body. Putting your body back into alignment isn’t hard, though. All you have to do is stand up straight and get yourself an ergonomic office chair. Don’t forget to exercise proper posture when bending and lifting, as well, since it helps to protect you joints, muscles, and everything in between.
Get equipped. Whether you work at a job that puts a lot of stress on your body or you enjoy participating in extreme sports, it’s a good idea to protect your body, and especially your joints, by donning the proper gear. This could include knee, elbow, and wrist pads, braces, or even a weight belt and a hard hat or helmet, depending on your activities. They may look silly, but you won’t regret having this equipment when you suffer some kind of accident. Ideally, you’ll never experience any kind of joint pain thanks to these preventive measures.
- Address pain. Any time you suffer from joint pain you need to address it accordingly. It may be nothing more than an exercise injury that needs a few days of rest to correct, but if you continue working out instead, you could end up causing lasting damage. And if you’re suffering from ongoing or recurring pain in your joints, it could signal a more serious disorder. So don’t ignore your joint pain unless you relish the idea of living with it for life.