Joints make it possible for you to bend your knees, elbows, hips and more. As your body ages, your joints are at a higher risk of wearing down. Maybe overuse of a certain joint throughout your lifetime has resulted in decreased flexibility and discomfort. You may even develop osteoarthritis, a chronic degenerative joint disease that can be painful.
You don’t have to suffer from restricted movement and joint pain for the remainder of your lifetime – you can make lifestyle changes starting today that will help you maintain healthy joints. Here are six things you can do to encourage healthy joints and decrease joint pain:
1. Lose Weight
When you are overweight, there is increased pressure on your joints, your knees in particular. It’s common for aging adults who are overweight to require a complete knee replacement. You can reduce the stress on your joints by talking to your doctor about your weight and following a safe, physician-monitored weight loss program that’s a good fit for you.
2. Work Out in the Water
If you already have joint discomfort that makes regular exercise uncomfortable, try water aerobics. Swimming is not a weight-bearing exercise, but it’s still a good way to tone muscle and elevate your heart rate.
3. Make a Healthy Diet a Priority
A balanced, healthy diet goes hand in hand with weight loss and healthy joints. Omega-3 fatty acids works to minimize joint pain, so add salmon, tuna and other fish to your menu. Focus on consuming foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D. Both work to maintain strong bones and have anti-inflammatory effects on your joints.
4. Add the Right Supplements
Depending on the season, it can be difficult to consume enough fresh fruits and vegetables to meet your nutritional needs. Talk to your doctor about adding certain supplements to your diet to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to maintain healthy joints.
5. Purchase Supportive Footwear
If you stand and walk for a fair amount of time during the day, do it in shoes that offer support and stability. Make sure the shoes have a low heel and strong arch support so that your knees and hips aren’t under as much stress.
6. Exercise Every Day
Establish an exercise routine that you enjoy. If you look forward to exercising, you won’t have to force yourself to get outside, go to the gym or turn on an aerobic video at home. Finding a workout partner to make exercise a social activity can also help keep you dedicated. Even though it may seem counterintuitive, exercise helps keep joint inflammation down and prevents osteoarthritis.
Take charge and start helping your body maintain healthy joints by following these six suggestions. You should also talk to your doctor if you already have specific joint problems so you can get a personalized care plan to follow. If you need medical care for a joint pain issue and you aren’t sure if you have insurance coverage, talk to My Senior Health Plan to learn about your options.