Joints are where two bones meet and are what allow you to wiggle your fingers and toes, bend your elbows and knees, bend and twist at the waist, and turn your head. Our bones provide our bodies with a solid structure, which supports our body functions and prevents us from falling. Maintaining healthy joints and bones is essential for ensuring a positive quality of life as we age.
Joints are protected by smooth tissue and a lubricant called synovial fluid. Age, injury, and weight can damage joints and cause pain. The best way to protect the body’s joints is to protect the muscles, ligaments, and bones that make up and surround joints. We can do this by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, building muscles, and eating healthy.
Our knees, hips, and back carry all of our body’s weight. Reducing our weight decreases the pressure and wear and tear we place on our joints. It is estimated that every pound gained can put up to four times more stress on a person’s knees.
Exercise can help decrease or maintain a healthy weight, alleviating some of the pressure on our joints.
Aerobic exercises have been shown in several studies to decrease joint swelling.
Low-impact exercises like swimming and road bicycling are the best for decreasing impact on our joints.
Strength training helps build the muscles and ligaments around our joints, reducing the amount of pressure our joints have to handle on their own.
Strengthen your core, including your chest, back, and abdomen, improve balance, and decrease the chance of falling.
Sitting and standing with a focus on good posture also helps to strengthen muscles around hip joints and the backbone.
Protect your joints by wearing protective equipment when involved in high-risk or repetitive activities such as rollerblading, gardening, and mountain biking.
Always remember to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Bones that make up the human body are also impacted by aging, injury, and weight. Every ten years, as we age, our bone tissue regenerates. For some, this regeneration is not a 100% renewal. Instead, the body’s bone tissue decreases, and the body’s bones weaken, leading to fractures and injury. Protect your body’s bones by paying attention to your risks for bone loss, exercising, quitting smoking, reducing environmental risks, and consulting your doctor.
Many factors affect bone loss, including age, gender, family history, weight, and health issues.
Diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and taking certain medications can increase a person’s chances of bone loss.
Weight-bearing activities, such as yoga and hiking can help strengthen bones and slow down bone loss.
However, any exercise is good for the bones because exercise helps build strength and balance, which helps prevent falls and bone injury.
Heavy alcohol consumption can reduce bone mass.
Smoking or other use of nicotine has even been shown to decrease bone-forming cells.
Remove fall risks, such as tripping hazards.
Add railings to stairs and showers
Consult with your doctor about the potential benefit of a bone density test and treatment. Some medications can help protect and build up bone tissue if needed.
A healthy diet is essential for keeping every part of the human body functioning at its best. This statement holds true for our joints and bones. Our bones need calcium, our muscles need protein, and our joints need antioxidants, such as vitamin C.
Calcium is required for bone health.
Calcium is stored in the bones and, when the body doesn’t have enough calcium for its needs, it steals calcium from our bones.
Calcium can be found in milk, yogurt, broccoli, kale, and figs.
Choose water over soda. Soda will decrease your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D can be found in dairy products, many kinds of cereal, soy milk, and fortified almond milk.
Protein is vital for building and maintaining strong muscles. Protein is found in lean meats, seafood, beans, legumes, soy products, and nuts.
Some studies suggest Vitamin C and other antioxidants also help keep joints healthy. Be sure to eat foods rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and peppers.
Almost everything we do from day to day requires the use of our joints and bones. Prevent damage to your joints and bones by exercising, building muscle, eating a healthy diet, quitting bad habits, and avoiding injury. If you are already experiencing joint pain and bone loss, consult with your doctor.