In a human body, a joint is a connection between two bones. The joints along with other supporting structures, are what allow you to move, bend and use your limbs, your hips, your head and even your fingers.
There is a tissue called cartilage and a lubricant called synovial fluid that helps cushion the joints, so bones do not rub against each other. With increasing age or some particular injury, the cartilage and the synovial fluid may undergo wear and tear leading to damage to the joints and even arthritis.
The best option to keep your joints working correctly is to keep them along with your muscles, ligaments and bones strong and stable. Here are a few steps you can take to achieve this.
Keep in motion
It is the golden rule that if you move your joints, they remain healthy. You’ll also experience less stiffness in your joints. In certain sedentary activities like reading, working at a table, watching television etc. it is better to keep changing your positions often. You can also take a short break in-between these activities to go for a little stroll and be active.
If you already suffer from joint pain, then it is better to have some sort of padding when you indulge in sports like football and hockey. You may wear some braces for games like tennis and golf. This will reduce the stress on your joints and keep them safe.
Your body weight will cause much strain to your hips, knees and back. Even if you lose a few kilos, it will help a great deal. Every kilo you lose will take the strain out of your knees.
Do some stretching
Stretching exercise is perfect for your joints, but avoid doing it when your muscles are cold. Try to do a light warm-up like walking for 10 minutes to get your joints, ligaments and tendons to loosen up.
Go low impact
If you are already suffering joint pain, then take care not to indulge in an exercise that can pound your joints like jogging. The best activities are walking, cycling, swimming and strength training.
Get your range
If your joints remain too stiff, it is better to get back as much range of motion as you can in them. This is a reasonable amount of movement in a particular direction for the joint. Take the help of a doctor or physio to achieve this.
Strengthen your core
When you build stronger abs and back muscles, they help in your balance. Which means you can avoid accidental falls or get injured. Hence, strengthening your core including the abdomen and back, is very important. Pilates and yoga are excellent workouts to achieve this.
Eat some fish
Fish is considered as a food that helps scale down joint problems. Fatty cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and help in keeping the joints healthy. A dish of fish helps lower inflammation in patients suffering rheumatoid arthritis if you don’t like fish try fish oil capsules.
Dairy products & greens
Dairy products and green leafy vegetables like broccoli are considered to be excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D. If you don’t get enough of them, your doctor can suggest some supplements too.
Care about posture
Try to stand-up and keep your back straight to protect your joints from the neck down to your knees. A little walk can also improve your posture. Try a faster walk so that your muscles work harder and keep you upright. Swimming is another option to maintain a good position.
Lift with caution
Think twice about the strain on your joints when you lift or carry things. Hang your bags on your arms instead of your hands. Let your bigger muscles work when you have to take heavier weights, first bend and then lift which will help the joints support the weight.
Take medical help
If you happen to get hurt and you have joint pain, see your doctor immediately. This will help avoid more damage. This will also help you avoid certain things that put too much stress on your joints since the doctor will suggest some braces or support for your joints to help it recover.