It’s clear to see as a whole, we are now living longer than ever before but at the same time also taking care of ourselves less and less. With a rise in obesity and the increase in fast foods, games consoles, TV channels and social media – getting people to eat right and get moving is harder than ever. One area of the body that suffers the most from this new lifestyle is our joints, they take on the burden of excess weight, suffer the most through lack of exercise and will happily give from under you when you have let yourself go. Taking care of your joints should be a priority to everyone to keep you nimble and able to, well…walk. Here are some easy tips for keeping those joints as healthy as they can be.
Drop the excess weight
This is probably the hardest of all the tips. Losing weight is a constant battle for many people but it is the best way to keep your joints healthy. Excess weight puts a strain on your joints, making them have to work harder and trying to stop them failing or becoming damaged. Eventually the weight causes the cartilage around the joint to wear away which then means that there is nothing to protect your bones from rubbing together and wearing each other away. Cartilage damage is hard to repair, it normally requires surgery and can be very painful.
Simply exercising and using your joints will help strengthen them, build up the muscle around them allows the muscle to take some of the stress and stain away from the joint. Low impact sports such as swimming or cycling are a great way to start building up muscles without putting too much pressure on your joints. Doing core exercises that strengthen your back and abdomen also help take the strain away from your lower joints. Book a session with a personal trainer and they can go through the right exercises to build up muscle and support your joint care; they’ll also make sure you’re doing them right.
Foods rich in calcium are vital for taking care of your joints; broccoli, kale, figs, and fortified foods like soy or almond milk are great sources. Protein is a must but make sure you only have as much as you need for your age, gender and your activity levels – lean meats, seafood, beans, legumes, soy products, and nuts. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and the best way to get it is to be out in the sun (safely of course).
If you feel your diet is lacking in the essential vitamins then you can always look into taking additional supplements. A general multivitamin is always a good start but a supplement that focuses on joint care can be more beneficial; such as collagen which is having positive effects on joint care.
Remember, joints give you the ability to move – to bend, jump and run so without them you’re just a mannequin. Look after them.