Joint health matters. When the joints are in good working condition, you can bike, run, jump, and walk smoothly. Joints are present where two or more bones join -- so this means they are in charge of keeping everything intact for mobility.
Most joints have cartilage on the ends of the bones. The cartilage helps you move by reducing friction and absorbing shock when bones move together. If the joints and cartilage are in poor condition, the body is more prone to injury, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
What can I do?
Luckily, there are many ways to keep your joints healthy. Keeping a balanced and active lifestyle can help your joints to stay in tip-top shape. Here are five ways to protect your joints:
1. Stay in motion -- Move, move, move. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle and look for ways to stay active. If you are always at your desk, you can try a height adjustable table so you can stand and sit whenever possible. This Huffington Post article noted that too much sitting in with bad posture can wear and tear the discs and joints as well as tighten hip joints.
Incorporating workouts is a good thing too. Low impact exercises are great for beginners. For starters, you can try stationary cycling, pilates, yoga, or walking on a treadmill machine with no incline. These exercises are safe to do at home so you don’t have any excuse not to move. Plus, regular exercise will keep your immunity strong as stated in this article from Harvard Health Publishing.
2. Do warm-up and cool-down exercises -- Concerning working out, it is important not to skip the stretches before and after a sweat session. Your joints might be strained and overloaded if you do.
For best results, spend some five minutes for warm-up and cool-down exercises. You can also explore dynamic stretching to activate different group muscles before putting in the real work. This kind of stretching increases blood flow and flexibility and reduces resistance.
3. Avoid smoking -- Smoking is generally bad for your health. It is known for triggering inflammation in the body. So if there is already some joint pain here and there, recovery might not come as fast.
Kicking the habit is not easy. You might need some help to do this, so it's best to consult your doctor.
4. Stay hydrated -- With water, that is. Swap your energy drinks and other beverages for some cool H2O. According to the Orthopedics Specialist,
about 70-80 percent of your joint cartilage is made of water, so it is not surprising why dehydration is associated with joint pain.
How much water do you need? MayoClinic.org cited the study done by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The study determined that adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
If you are going to start exercising as we recommended, then you might need more than the number of cups mentioned above.
5. Listen to what your body is telling you -- It pays to be sensitive to your body’s needs. Intuition is your allyt when it comes to your health. Drink more water when it's hot or you're going to work out. Push the body to work out but rest when you have to. And if you experience any pain, don't ignore it. That's your body signaling that something is amiss. If you feel any joint pain, call your doctor right away. You might be able to prevent disease or sickness from getting out of hand.