5 Steps to Preventing Joint Pain & Damage
Protecting joints and worrying about joint pain is no longer limited to athletes and the 40+ crowd. Joint irritation and damage can develop at any age. Arthritis can appear even in children although the risk dramatically increases as we age. While joint issues have always been a concern, people are beginning to recognize earlier the importance of maintaining joints. There are many conditions that can cause joint issues but here are ways to reduce your risk.
- Reduce Impact
One of the biggest factors in developing joint problems is damage that accumulates over the years. High impact sports can wear down connective tissues within joints and cause damage to the joints, themselves. Switching from high impact sports like rugby or football to lower impact exercises like swimming, qi gong, or yoga can help to keep you in shape while helping to protect the long-term health of your joints. This can become particularly important as we get older and are slower to heal from injuries.
- Maintain Support
Protecting your joints requires a strong support system. Avoiding exercise or only working select muscles can make your joints more vulnerable to injuries. Too often people only work out on a treadmill or work on developing their shoulders. In case of a slip or fall the stronger muscles are more likely to pull weaker muscles and the surrounded joint out of position. Building strong core muscles and other supporting tissues will also reduce your chances of falling. Full body workouts are a great way to make sure you are keeping your muscle development balanced. Pay special attention to strengthening your core. Exercises that require balance can further reduce your risk of injuries. Even walking on cobblestone streets has been shown to improve balance and reduce injuries.
- Keep Moving
Staying active has been shown to improve joint health so don’t let concerns about injuries slow you down. Walking and other low-impact sports can easily be worked into your day to help to keep you in shape. Wear shoes that provide good support and traction while you’re walking to reduce the risk of injuries and help to prevent strains or falls.
Maintaining good, balanced nutrition is as important to your joints as it is to the rest of you. Make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables as then contain many antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage. Fish oils and other supplements have been linked to reducing the inflammation that can contribute to joint inflammation and even autoimmune-related joint problems like rheumatoid arthritis. Because joint problems are so strongly associated with inflammation, it is also important to be aware of any food allergies or intolerances and avoid contact with food that increases inflammation.
- Watch the Weight
The greater the weight, the more the pressure and strain on the joints. Having excess body weight increases your risk of joint problems. Keep in mind that this same sort of damage can be caused by strength training exercises that use too much weight or by trying to increase the amount of weight too swiftly.