As you age and your body undergoes normal wear and tear, you lose bone and muscle mass which can lead to joint pain and stiffness. Here are 5 tips to make your joints stronger and more mobile so that you can keep joint problems at bay.
5 tips to keep your joints healthy
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can cause stress on your joints and muscles, making it difficult to stay agile and mobile. Try to maintain a healthy weight as recommended for your age and height. Several calculators are available online that can help you calculate your ideal body weight.
2. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
One of the best ways to keep your joints healthy is to eat a nutritious diet/ Avoid or limit foods that increase inflammation in the body, such as processed foods, fried foods, saturated fats, sugar, and refined carbohydrates.
Certain foods prevent inflammation, strengthen connective tissues, and help build greater bone density, which can preserve joint health, prevent injuries, and offer natural?relief for joint pain. Foods that promote strong joints include:
- Seeds and nuts: Seeds and nuts are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and known to fight inflammation. Examples include almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
- Fresh fruits: Fresh fruits contain powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation and help reduce joint pain. Examples include blueberries (contains flavonoids), pineapples (contains bromelain), and tomatoes (contains the antioxidant lycopene).
- Cruciferous vegetables: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli are packed with vitamins and minerals that have been found to block enzymes that result in swelling of the joints.
- Beans and lentils: Good sources of essential minerals, fiber, and protein and contain anthocyanins, a flavonoid that helps reduce inflammation in the body. Examples include chickpeas, black beans, and soybeans.
- Seafood: Cold-water fish, such as halibut, tuna, salmon or trout, are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Besides reducing inflammation, these nutrients can lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions.
- Whole grains: Whole oats, rye, barley, and wheat may help counteract the body’s inflammatory response.
- Root vegetables: Onions, garlic, turmeric, and ginger contain anti-inflammatory properties that can boost joint health.
- Dark chocolate: Cocoa contains antioxidants that counteract inflammation.
- Olive oil: Olive oil contains healthy fat and is packed with inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids.
- Hydration: Make sure you drink at least 3-4 liters of water in a day. This lubricates your joints and keeps muscles from getting stiff.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercise improves bone density and increases muscle strength. Though any type of exercise can maintain joint health, low-impact aerobic exercises are better options to build bone density since they are easier on your joints. Cardio lubricates joints, strengthens muscles around the joints, and improves circulation.
Some of the best exercises to support joint health include:
- Aerobics or cardio
- Strengthening exercises
- Squats: Try at least 3 sets of 10 repetitions
- Lunges: Try 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side
- Push-ups: Start slowly with one set of 10 and increase the number gradually
- Curl-ups: Start with 3 sets of 15 each
- Side planks: Try 3 times on each side
- Flexibility exercises: Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates help maintain a complete range of motion.
- Weight training: Weight training can be started with the advice of a trained professional with low loads for joint safety.
- Stretching post workouts: Stretching after exercise is essential to prevent joint problems and muscle injuries.
4. Increase vitamin D and calcium levels
Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium in the body and strengthens the bones and joints.
5. Avoid or limit smoking
Smoking often causes pro-inflammatory changes in the body. This accelerates the wear and tear on the joints.
Cleveland Clinic. The Best Exercises To Keep Your Joints Healthy. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-keep-your-joints-healthy-with-the-right-exercise/
Robinson KM. How to Strengthen Your Joints. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/features/joint-strength
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