Your joints are sophisticated machines, combining balance, flexibility and resilience to help you withstand the strains and stress of not only everyday activities, but also some of the worst situations life can throw at you.
However, as time goes on, your joints begin to wear and tear and will not heal as fast as they used to.
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Your body’s joints are made of up cartilage, synovium and synovial fluid, which cushion the areas between your bones to keep them from rubbing together. When these substances break down, you can experience limited mobility and great pain. Some conditions related to joint problems include arthritis and bursitis.
Here are some guidelines you can follow to help retain your joints’ usefulness throughout your life and reduce joint-related injury.
Some of your most tasked joints are those that are responsible for supporting the weight of your body, including your knees and hips. The best way to reduce strain on these joints (and improve many other aspects of your life) is to lose weight.
For every pound you gain, you’re putting four times more pressure on your knees and you’re making things more difficult for joints in your back, ankles and hips, as well. This can lead to serious problems later in life, including the necessity for knee and hip replacement.
Get Off Your Behind
Sitting still is terrible for your joints as calcium buildup from lack of movement can reduce mobility and cause pain. Get up and walk around once every few minutes, and make it a point to do some light exercise throughout the week.
Build Up Your Muscles
Your joints are supported by muscles, ligaments and tendons that control how fast and smooth your body moves. Smoother motions mean less strain on your joints, so build up your leg and back muscles to make your mobility easy to control.
Be sure to workout properly, as performing weight training incorrectly can cause more harm than good. Exercising your core is also helpful for body control, as much of your overall balance is achieved through the muscles in your chest and abdomen.
Don’t Overdo It
Rushing through your daily activities and using too much weight during your exercises can cause serious, sometimes irreparable harm to your joints. Symptoms from an overextended knee or rolled ankle can last for months, if not years.
Don’t be careless, and always stop your work for the day if you’re too tired, as your balance will suffer before anything else when you’re fatigued. Also be sure to take care when lifting heavy objects by practicing proper lifting techniques (bend your legs, not your back).
Practice Good Posture
Even though slouching might be more comfortable, it’s not good for you. People who sit or stand improperly can end up with complications in their neck and back, such as slipped disks. Be sure to take care when carrying strapped loads, like a backpack, and wear them properly with both straps on your back and not just one.
Make sure to wear proper padding when participating in extreme activities, such as bicycling and rollerblading. Wrist guards, kneepads, elbow pads and helmets can protect you from life-changing injury; even what seems like a minor sprain can cause pain for many years.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating foods that help build bone and muscle also help your joints. Make sure you have a diet that is rich in calcium, protein and vitamin D. Antioxidants and vitamin C show some promise in helping to keep your joints in shape, as well.