Watch Your Weight for Healthy Joints
Keeping your weight within a healthy range is the best thing you can do for your joints. Weight-bearing joints, such as your knees, hips, and back, have to support some, if not all, of your body weight. That's why so many overweight people have problems with these areas of the body.
The higher the number on your bathroom scale, the more wear and tear you put on your joints. Losing weight reduces pressure on your knees, hips, and back and helps prevent joint injury. Research has shown that with every pound gained, a person puts four times more stress on the knees.
Exercise for Healthy Joints
counterintuitive when your joints are stiff and achy, but regular movement is the key to smooth, flexible joints. Warm up and cool down with stretching and slow walking to reduce the risk of injury. Participate in a physical activity you enjoy for at least 20 minutes each day, such as team sports, swimming, jumping rope or walking. Yard work and shoveling snow also counts as exercise.
Stretch Before Exercise
Flexibility helps you move better. Try to stretch daily or at least three times a week. But don't do it when your muscles are cold. Do a light warm-up first, like walking for 10 minutes, to loosen up the joints, ligaments, and tendons around them.
Heap your plate full of fresh vegetables and fruit.
Following a mostly plant-based diet can reduce your risk of inflammation and may help you maintain your weight. Excess weight places too much stress on your joints and can cause you to feel stiff and achy. Choose a colorful mix of produce to get a variety of antioxidant vitamins and other nutrients.
Balance your intake of omega fatty acids.
Omega-3 fights inflammation that can contribute to joint pain, while omega-6 can increase your risk of joint disease and inflammation. Opt for foods rich in omega-3, such as walnuts, salmon, halibut, flaxseed products and tofu. Limit foods high in omega-6, including meat, fried foods, eggs and margarine.
Boost consumption of calcium to protect your bones and improve joint health.
Choose low-fat dairy products such as fat-free yogurts, skim milk and low-fat cheeses.
Chill Out Pain
Ice is a natural -- and free -- pain reliever. It numbs the hurt and eases swelling. If you have a sore joint, apply a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel. Leave it on for up to 20 minutes at a time. You can also try a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel. Never apply ice directly to your skin.