Do you have painful joints?
Most of us ignore our joint health until our joints start to hurt. Joints are an important part of your body, just like your heart, lungs, and brain. Healthy joints are essential to our daily activity, be it playing baseball or merely lifting a glass of water. If you have stiff joints, you may be unable to even move or walk around normally, or lead a healthy lifestyle. This in turn can affect the longevity of life. In short, not paying attention to your joints is like gambling with your life.
It’s not just you who never thought about your joint health. According to the Orthopedic Institute’s A Beginner’s Guide to Joint Health, 7 out of 10 Americans over the age of 34 experience occasional joint stiffness, and 62% of people have concerns about their joint health. Read this article to learn the secret to healthy joints.
Starting From the Basics: What Are Joints?
Joints are the point in our body where two bones meet. Some joints are moveable, like knees, elbows, shoulders, neck, wrists, and ankles, while others are non-moveable, like the joints in the skull. Joints have a layer of soft tissue between them called cartilage, which helps the bones to glide over each other without allowing them to rub and cause pain.
If you do not take care of your joints, this cartilage tends to wither away and decay as you age, causing friction between two bones. This eventually leads to painful joints. This condition is known as arthritis. Nowadays, as younger people tend to ignore joint health, this condition has become more common amongst younger people as well.
According to the CDC, nearly two-thirds of the people diagnosed with arthritis are younger than 65 years of age, and it is more prevalent in women (26%) than in men (19%) in all the age groups.
Types of arthritis:
There are three main types of arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis: it is the most common type of arthritis. The bone ends rub together and cause friction, causing pain, inflammation, and loss of motion.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: this is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system starts to attack the cartilage of the joints, causing pain, stiffness, and loss of motion.
- Gout: it is the inflammatory type of arthritis. Uric acid starts to build up in the joints making crystals. It causes sharp pain, tenderness, warmth, and swelling in the joints.
Tips to Maintain Healthy Joints:
Here are some easy tips to help you keep moving in your life in order to keep your joints healthy.
1. Stay in motion
A lot of you tend to stop walking or avoid motion due to fear of pain, but staying in motion is important. Moving helps improve joint pain. As the saying goes, “use it or lose it.”
You should make a routine of at least 10-15 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, and aim to slowly increase the activity to 30 minutes. Rather than being a “weekend warrior,” you should remain consistent with your goal in order to improve your joints on a daily basis.
2. Daily dose of Vitamin D
Take a walk outside on a bright day so that you can absorb the maximum amount of vitamin D from the sunlight. Vitamin D is essential, as it helps calcium get absorbed in the bones.
Research has proven that people who suffer from vitamin D deficiency are more prone to having arthritis in the future, while those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis but have adequate blood vitamin D levels perform their daily tasks more easily. Make sure to take care of your vitamin D intake for a more comfortable life in the long run.
3. Maintain a healthy diet
Healthy diet is the key to a healthy mind, body, and soul, and so it is also essential for the joints. There isn’t any specific diet that is recommended for the joints, but there are certain guidelines that should be incorporated into your lifestyle to avoid arthritis.
- Eat 2-4 ounces per day of omega-3 fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, or tuna, as omega-3 fatty acid can lower the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Eat colorful plates! Consume 6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, as they are rich in antioxidants that will maintain the joints, as well as reduce inflammation.
- Choosing whole grain is the best option, as many whole grain foods contain selenium. Many people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are deficient in selenium, so this may help balance the deficiency.
- Eat a handful of nuts daily. Nuts contain phytoflavanoids which are powerful antioxidants that can reduce inflammation in people suffering from osteoarthritis.
- Olive oil is the best choice as a cooking oil, as it has the power to reduce inflammation.
- Drink a cup of green tea daily. It contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which reduces inflammation in joints.
- Drink water! Water helps lubricate the joints. All the cells in our body, including the cartilage in joints, tend to work best when properly hydrated.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight leads to a lot of problems, including arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, even having 10 lbs. of extra weight will put 20-30 lbs. of weight stress on your joints. Eating a healthy balanced diet and reducing just 10% of your weight gradually will relieve your joints from extra stress.
5. Keep your joints protected
Wearing a guard on your knees and elbow while cycling or doing any physical activity will avoid any harsh impact on your joints and will protect them from dislocating.
Joints helps us to perform our the activities and chores of our daily lives, so you should aim towards healthy joints by starting now. It’s proven that staying consistent with your exercise will help you stay in motion, which will help reduce stiffness and joint pain, as well as helping you shed some extra pounds, if necessary. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will not only help you keep extra weight off your joints, but will also help protect your joints from damage.