1.EXERCISE to protect and strengthen your joints. Overall, by strengthening muscles and aiding in weight loss, exercise can reduce the strain on joints. Squats and lunges, as well as certain exercises with weights, can help strengthen quadriceps and reduce the pressure on your knees. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking also helps maintain bone density, no matter what your age. However, note that running and other high-intensity exercise can damage joints and ligaments, leading to inflammation, pain and, eventually, arthritis.
2.STRETCH and WARM UP prior to exercising. Our bodies need to be warmed up in order to work properly and avoid excess injuries. This allows our tendons to flex and become more supple, helps the muscles to loosen up and work better, and gets the blood flowing through our body.
3.CHANGE EXERCISES. Both avid and occasional exercisers should consider changing the type of exercise we do. Impact-style exercising, such as step aerobics or kick boxing, is harder on our joints than exercises such as yoga and water-based workouts.
4.DO NOT OVER EXERCISE. Regardless of the type of exercise we do, or how heavy the workout, our bodies need time to repair. Our muscles, tendons and ligaments all need time to rest and repair after a hard workout. That’s what causes them to strengthen over time.
5.LOSE WEIGHT. Extra body weight creates strain on our joints, particularly the knee joints. Losing as little as 10 pounds of body weight can help reduce pain, and improves breathing and circulation.
6.UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF OMEGA -3 FATTY ACIDS. Omega-3 acids are primarily found in fatty fish, some nuts and seeds. Omega-6 acids are found in many vegetables, such as corn and corn oil. While the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (which include fish oil supplements) is well known, less known is the fact that your intake of these fats can affect both bone formation and the rate at which bone is broken down. It’s important to consume both varieties, though consuming more omega-3 fatty acids improves bone mineral density, particularly important for good hip health. Eating a fatty fish like salmon twice a week is recommended, and many physicians suggest fish oil supplements.
7.GET YOUR VITAMIN D. Vitamin D enables bone growth and the breaking down and building up of bone. The best source of D is sunlight, but it’s nearly impossible to get enough in the fall and winter, or if we’re using sunscreen. That’s why supplements are helpful. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends a daily level of vitamin D to 600 international units (IUs) for anyone up to age 71 years old, including children, and as much as 800 IUs for those 71 and older. As with all medicines or supplements, consult with your physician or nutritionist to ensure the best regimen for your personal wellness needs.
8.EVALUATE YOUR FOOTWEAR. Proper footwear is important for bone and joint health. It’s also important that all shoes, including athletic shoes fit properly. Toes need room and there should be good arch support. Some sort of cushion, especially under the ball and heel areas of our feet, also is recommended.
9.CHANGE POSITIONS. Sitting or standing all day, day after day, can cause joint pain. We need to vary our routines to give both our bodies and joints variety and rest periods. Getting up and moving around is helpful to break up a routine and keep our bodies in shape.
10.STOP SMOKING. People who smoke tend to have lower bone density and higher risk of fractures than those who do not smoke.