Like most things when it comes to physical health, our joints are something that many of us take for granted. When they’re functioning optimally, we rarely give them a second thought, but when an injury occurs, the pain and limitations to mobility it may cause suddenly becomes all we can focus on. While some wear and tear is inevitable as we age, our lifestyle choices can have a major impact on how much and how quickly our joints wear out. Read on for some tips on how to take care of your joints and prevent injuries.
Stay Active, but Keep it Low-Impact
Regular exercise is crucial for joint health, but high-impact activities can put a serious strain on joints by weakening cartilage over time. To get your heart pumping without excessive force, opt for exercises such as swimming, walking, or cycling instead. Activities such as yoga that work to build flexibility and strengthen the muscles around your joints can also help to relieve pressure and discomfort.
Follow a Healthy Diet
To reduce swelling and promote joint lubrication, be sure to include plenty of omega-3s, healthy fats, and antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. Some examples include fatty fish, nuts and seeds, and green leafy vegetables. Avoid refined carbohydrates and processed meats, which can increase inflammation and make joint pain worse.
If diet and exercise aren’t quite cutting it, talk to your doctor about whether adding certain joint support supplements to your daily regimen may be right for you. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two natural options that have been shown to prevent the breakdown of cartilage, while omega-3s and curcumin may help to calm inflammation.