A joint is the part of the body where two or more bones meet to allow movement. They are held together, supported and cushioned by connective tissue called cartilage and ligaments. As the bones move against one another, smooth cartilage prevents friction.
However, just as the tread on your tires wears away over time, the cartilage can break down, too. And without enough padding, the bones will hurt when they rub against each other at the joints. This discomfort, ache or soreness experienced in joints due to breakdown of the cartilage is called osteoarthritis.
Tips to keep your joints healthy
Frayed cartilage can’t heal or grow back. However, you can always protect the cartilage and safeguard your joints. To maintain or improve your joint health, exercise is key. But what else can you do?
Here are a few tips for safeguarding your joints — and the cartilage that supports them.
Stay physically active
The body is supposed to move; our joints allow for movement. Movement eases joint stiffness, reduces joint pain, strengthens the muscles which surround the joints, and helps us maintain a healthy weight.
Keep a check on your body weight
We must maintain our ideal body weight for a lot many reasons including healthy joints. Carrying excess body weight adds stress to our joints, especially the weight-bearing joints. Weight loss can significantly reduce knee pain and joint stiffness.
Give muscle support to your joints
Strong muscles support your joints. If you don’t have enough muscle, your joints take a pounding, especially your spine, hips, and knees, which must support your entire body weight. Weight training exercises help build muscle and keep your muscles and surrounding ligaments strong. That way, your joints don’t have to do all the work.
A certified fitness trainer can show you the best exercises for healthy joints and how to do them correctly.
Take care of your nutrition
For strong bones, it is vital to take in enough calcium and vitamin D every day. Additionally, your muscles need protein too. If you think your body is not meeting your requirements, consider supplements.
Give importance to the posture
To protect your joints from your neck down to your knees, always stand and sit up straight. When walking, make sure your shoulders are back and your spine is straight. If you work at a desk, take a break every hour to stretch and readjust your posture.
Pay attention to body pains
Over time, a certain amount of wear and tear on your joints is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to affect the way your body feels, functions or moves. If you experience a clicking or popping sensation in the joint when you walk, bend or lunge, but there’s no pain or swelling, you don’t need to worry about it. However, if you have pain or swelling with that clicking or popping, it’s best to schedule a visit to your doctor.
Otherwise, follow these steps to protect these essential joints to minimize your risk of experiencing pain, stiffness, and inflammation in your knees.
If you are experiencing pain or stiffness in your joints, talk to our fitness expert at 8 Fitness Tips.