15 Best ways protecting joint health
The golden rule of joint health is the more you move, the less stiffness you will have. When achy joints can make life miserable, we realize the importance of good joint health. Our joints, located wherever the ends of two bones come together, are kept very busy each day. From waving our fingers goodbye, turning our head side to side, swirling our hips, or bending our knees to climb stairs, their job is priceless. But, if our joints become stiff, we pay the price by being unable to move with ease and comfort. All joints – vertebrae, elbows, wrists, knees, hips, ankles, fingers, and toes, allow movement of our skeleton keeping us mobile for many years.
But life happens – we grow older, we injure ourselves or we gain too much weight resulting in wear and tear on our joints, damaging them and possibly leading to arthritis. The best way to care for your joints is to keep them and the muscles, ligaments, and bones surrounding them, strong and stable. Here are 15 top tips on how to be good to your joints preserving their health:
1. Reduce neck strain. Position computer monitors at eye-level and use hands-free devices to reduce neck strain.
2. Maintain proper distance from your computer. Allow between 20 to 26 inches between your computer monitor and your upper body. Arms should hand comfortably at your sides, elbows at a right angle and relax your wrists when typing.
3. Use high heels infrequently. Most of us can live without high heels. Wearing a three-inch heel places seven times more stress on your foot than a one-inch heel. That extra stress also means extra stress on your knees which could increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
4. Alternate between sitting and standing. Either way, too much standing or sitting all day is not good. The best bet is to switch off between standing and sitting. If your job involves primarily sitting, every 30 minutes take a break to stand up.
5. Be careful lifting heavy items. Proper lifting of a heavy item is a must to protect your joints. Use your largest, strongest joints and muscles to take stress off of smaller hand joints and to spread the load over large surface areas.
6. Lose excess weight. For every extra pound gained, this puts four times the stress on your knees. For anyone overweight to obese, even just a small weight loss can bring relief to your knees. Losing as little as 11 pounds may improve joint health cutting your risk of osteoarthritis of the knees by 50 percent.
7. Build strong bones. Good joint health begins with good bone health. Boost bone health by boosting calcium intake – good sources include milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, broccoli, kale, figs, and salmon.
8. Take a hike. Hiking outdoors is a great way to burn calories and relieve stress but also helps strengthen muscles while building denser bones to help support healthier joints.
9. Wear supportive shoes. Even though we love fashionable shoes, shoes should also be comfortable too. Choose flexible, supportive shoes that are squared or rounded at the toe allowing our toes to move around. Shoes with a rubber sole provide cushion reducing impact on joints.
10. Sttrrreeetccchh. Your joints love it when you stretch. Throughout your day, take plenty of breaks to stretch. This help re-energize and gets blood flowing keeping your muscles and ligaments surrounding joints flexible and strong.
11. Build muscle. Your joints also appreciate it when you lift weights. Strength training not only boosts metabolism but also creates denser bones and strong muscles that help stabilize and protect your joints.
12. Brace yourself. If you play sports such as tennis, golf, racquetball, or basketball, you may want to consider wearing elbow, wrist, or knee braces to prevent injury. These same braces can also reduce the load on these joints and may alleviate joint stress.
13. Get a massage. To relieve muscle tension and fatigue, get massages regularly. Certain forms of massage, such as a Swedish massage, focus on muscles and joints to improve function.
14. Warm up before exercise. Before hitting it hard at the gym warm up your body. Just like you would warm up your car on a bitterly cold day, your body also needs a chance to warm up before exercise. Give yourself about five minutes to slowly begin moving by walking or stretching for joint safety.
15. Indulge in a warm bath. A warm bath before bed can help relieve muscle tension and ease aching joints but also prepares you for a good night’s sleep.