How to Safeguard Your Joints As You Age
When our bodies begin to age, it’s not long before we start to feel it everywhere. From that small pain in your back that increases after every big shopping trip to the regular aches and pains you feel after waking up in the morning, feeling sore and spent can be a common aspect to aging. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t start protecting your joints early. Whether you’re a regular exerciser, someone looking for in-home care for seniors, or an independent adult trying to decrease the daily aches and pains of stressed muscles, there are a few basic stretches and exercises you can do every day to prevent knee pain and keep your body feeling strong and healthy. Don’t wait: Incorporate some of these preventative tricks and exercises into your routine today.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Never underestimate the importance of a targeted diet when you’re dealing with joint pain. Even though trying to heal the problem from the inside out might seem like a stretch, there are tons of foods you can incorporate into your diet that will strengthen muscles and joints and soothed inflamed areas, keeping you healthy in the process. For hip pain, high omega-3 fish varieties like salmon or trout have great anti-inflammatory properties that will help soothe pain by providing a rich boost of good fat to the body. Garlic is also a great anti-inflammatory food that can be easily added to almost any meal. Fresh ginger can be great for knee pain, and other anti-inflammatory foods like broccoli, almonds, and iron-rich spinach can help boost strength and reduce the pain of aging if eaten consistently.
Unfortunately, eating right still doesn’t guarantee that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to slow down swelling and joint pain. That’s why having an arsenal of supplements can help step where your diet falls off, boosting the benefits of the foods you’re already eating and adding some health benefits of their own. Since you can never get enough Omega-3, taking a fish oil supplement is always a good idea, especially if fresh fish is a bit over your budget. Taking chondroitin sulfate could slow down the deterioration of your joints, while Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, has been proven to reduce aches and joint pain over time.
Use the Right Shoes When Exercising
Having joint pain shouldn’t stop you from staying physically active. However, if you’re not working out in the right gear, you might accidentally find yourself speeding up the progress of joint pain and deterioration. The first step is to know your arch and to buy shoes that will actually support it during more strenuous activity like running or lunging. It’s also key to replace old shoes after they start wearing down. If you keep using the same, worn out shoes for years, their ability to actually support your foot correctly will diminish, and you’ll end up putting much more pressure on your knees and toes than is healthy in the long term.
Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Your Joints
This step is much easier said than done, but if you’re aware of your movements in the day to day, it will become easier to keep track of what you’re doing that’s harmful. For instance, if you’re noticing that your posture is leaning to one side or the other, or that you tend to put more weight on one leg than the other, you might want to see what you can to distribute weight more evenly and decrease unnecessary pressure on your weight-bearing joints. One way to do this is to see a massage therapist or chiropractor to get more information about where you hold stress in your body. The changes you make could be as simple as doing a few different stretches every day, carrying a lighter bag, or getting shoes with better support.
Certain exercises are great for getting your body ready for the day while relieving joint pain at the same time. The key is to work your muscles without putting stress on your joints. Some great stretches to use for this are bridge pose, which helps you open up your hips, and pigeon pose. Doing lunges before more strenuous exercise like running can also help relieve joint pain in your hips. The same goes for thigh-specific stretches. If you’re really feeling tight or achy in the morning, consider signing up for a swim aerobics class. Doing your exercises in water will help relieve any tightness or joint pain. Also, it keeps you fit and flexible.