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Joints play a vital role in every activity that changes the position of the skeleton, even from the smallest task often taken for granted like holding a pen, bending one’s hips, doing stretches after sitting all day or driving a car.
No one in this world is getting younger every day, and as our bones begin to lose calcium and other minerals upon growing older, the joints become tuckered out which makes the simplest task like reaching for the glass of water placed on the bedside table feel like a burden. But just because you’re getting old doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be subjected to a life where there is shooting pain in every action taken and the freedom to be able to dance, jump, run and even walk tails off. It’s never too late to change our lifestyle that will give us healthy joints in the future for us to be able to still go hiking or join a triathlon.
Tips on how to protect your joints
- Change your position from time to time even if you’re just reading today’s newspaper or sitting to watch your favorite TV, and when at work take a few minutes break from your desk.
- Choose an exercise that does not trample your joints like walking and swimming (which also helps in improving your posture), yoga and pilates (helps your balance by gaining stronger abs and muscles) bicycling or strength training.
- Improve your flexibility by doing at least three times of stretching* a week but do a light warm-up to ease the joints, ligaments, and tendons around them
- If your joints are too stiff and inflexible consult a doctor or therapist who can recommend exercises to improve your mobility.
- Do not overstress your joints and push yourself too hard when exercising since the pain may lead to an injury or the damaging of the joints.
- Always remember that your weight has some influence on the pressure on your hips, knees and back, therefore a little weight loss can help take the strain away.
Keeping your joints healthy
- Having strong bones is like having strong joints, therefore take plenty of foods rich in calcium vitamin D such as almonds, the dairy products raw milk, yogurt or kefir and cheese, vegetables like broccoli, kale, okra, collards, soybeans white beans, watercress and bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and even sardines (with bones).
- Salmon and mackerel which are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids help keep the joints healthy as well as lowers inflammation. If you’re not too fond of fish, take taking fish oil capsules as an alternative.
- Take supplements to reduce joint pains but consult your doctor first to know which is safe for your body.
Taking care of your joints
- Think about your joints when lifting and carrying something. Use your arms instead of your hands when carrying your bag since the bigger muscles and joints are best in supporting the weight.
- If you’re into in-line skating, cycling and contact sports like football, ice hockey, and lacrosse, always wear your padding or protective gear.
- Place ice, a cold pack* or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel for twenty minutes over a sore joint. It’s the most natural and free form of pain reliever.
See a doctor immediately if you’re hurt to avoid more damage and avoid activities that put tension on your joint or use a brace* to keep it steady.