3 Easy Ways to Protect Your Joints
We are able to enjoy the wide range of movement and activity we are able to do partly thanks to our joints. These places on our bodies where bones meet up allow us simple movements such as bending and flexing, but also allow us to achieve proper technique that allows us to excel at our favorite sports and past times. However, joints are more susceptible to damage, arthritis and general wear and tear as we age, so it becomes more important to think about our joint health in order to keep them mobile and able to perform their specific function as we age. Even if your joints are healthy now, there is the possibility of joint deterioration just from frequent, repetitive use, so no matter what your joint health status is right now, here are some care and prevention tips that can help you stay active and mobile for years to come.
- Stretching is your friend, no matter what exercise regimen you participate in, and this goes for protecting your joints, too. A good daily practice for warming up your joints would be to incorporate moving your joints through their natural range of motion into your existing stretching routine. This gets those joints ready to move, helps them remain mobile, and can actually cause them to become more limber over time.
- Work on your muscles and you can improve your joints! It’s true. If you are regularly including weight-bearing exercises in your workout routine, i.e. lifting, lunges and squats, hiking with a weight pack, etc., then you are also helping to build bone, strengthen muscle and connective tissue, and helping give your body the support it needs to be able to perform. Since muscles surround the joints in your body, working to strengthen them can help you tone up and improve the range of motion in your joints in the process.
- Be realistic about what you can do. If you are experiencing joint pain or stiffness, or have arthritis, it will do more harm to push yourself too hard. This is not a case where it would be beneficial to push through the pain. Stretching and resting can do wonders for tired, aching joints, as will light movement that doesn’t place too much undue strain on them. If you are starting a new activity or exercise plan, ease into it rather than jumping in with both feet right away. This gives your body a chance to adjust to the new movement and helps prevent injuries that could cause more issues down the road. As always, if you are experiencing joint pain that is new or keeps you from doing certain activities, a visit to the doctor would be in your best interest.