The ability to move easily, quickly, and without discomfort is underappreciated. Your joints are the essential component of that equation. Aging, disease, injury, and overuse can lead to joint health decline. The impact of joint health determination can reverberate through a person’s life as they are forced to pull back from the activities they once enjoyed. Joint pain and degeneration are not a foregone conclusion and you can take smart actions to protect your joint health. Preserve your ability to lift your children today and run after your future grandchildren. Consider taking the following steps to protect your joint health for years to come.
- Stabilize Your Surrounding Muscles
Your joints are like door hinges, and someone has to put in an effort to open or close the door. The muscle groups around your vulnerable joint are responsible for safe and controlled movement. A lack of muscle strength or tone can lead to subluxation events or even create the conditions for full dislocations. Lift weights or use resistance bands to improve vital muscle strength. Pool workouts can also provide moderate resistance for a full-body workout.
- Strengthen Your Core
One group of muscles impacts joint health even when it is not directly connected to every joint. The core, or abdominal muscles, is the center of all significant physical movement. A strong core can help you to move efficiently and minimize stress on your joints or spine. Use a variety of plank, crunch, sit-up, and compound core exercises to fortify this area.
- Keep Moving
Outside of weight lifting and resistance circuits, there is tremendous value in the simple act of moving your body. Walk, run, swim, dance, stand, ride a bike, or do any other enjoyable activity to get your blood pumping. Habitual physical activity can help to maintain muscle tone and circulate fluid.
- Don’t Overstretch
The ligament connections around your joints are sensitive to being overstretched and torn. Ligament tears can be very painful and take time to heal, during which your ability to move is limited. Try incorporating short stretches and isometric contractions into your exercise routine instead of long stretches or chasing a sharp edge of sensation.
- Eliminate Unnecessary Strain
Shape the infrastructure of your life to eliminate strain on your joints. Be mindful about lifting heavy loads while engaging your glutes and abdominal muscles. Try to carry moderate or light loads and distribute the weight evenly across your body. You do not need to compromise your joint health to bring the groceries up the stairs in one trip.
- Make Household Modifications
Consider making household modifications before you feel heavy joint strain, to avoid it in the first place. Household modifications for joint health can include reorganizing the cupboards that you reach up into every day, switching washing machines, placing heavy items at waist height, using wheeled furniture, installing a wall oven, putting the microwave down on the counter, and moving toward single-level living.
- Use Mobility Aids Proactively
Using a mobility aid is not a sign of failure or giving up on your health. Joints will change as you age even if you do all the right things, and appropriate mobility aids can help you to avoid additional damage or falls. A stair lift chair can help you to age in your family home, a rollator or walker prevents the one-sided strain of a cane, and a mobility scooter can enable you to rest as necessary between periods of walking. Adopt mobility aids at the point when they can improve your quality of life, even by a small percentage, rather than waiting to be injured.
- Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the enemy of joint health and comfort. The inflammation of tissues around joints can be part of a cyclical reaction in which both the tissues and joints are damaged. Use ice water baths, anti-inflammatory medications, gentle movement, and dietary modifications to reduce inflammation and eliminate discomfort.
Prioritize your joint health as a key component of your long-term mobility and comfort.