How to Protect Your Joints as You Age

We’re all getting older, folks, and our bodies are feeling the impact in some way. Even the healthiest person can’t stave off all of the effects of aging, and one area we all tend to feel it in is our joints. These somewhat delicate points of connection throughout our bodies see a lot of wear and tear each day. This is why it’s important to take steps now to keep your joints as healthy as you possibly can.

Stop smoking if you haven’t already

Tobacco use in general puts you at a higher risk of developing everything from cancer to heart problems. What you may not know is that smoking can impact your joints, too. When you smoke, it increases inflammation across your entire body, including your joints. Smoking also makes it more difficult for your body to heal and recover from an injury.

Of course, giving up those cigarettes or cigars is never easy. Talk to your doctor about your quitting options, and look for smoking cessation groups in your area for more support.

Drink more water

You may not connect water to joint health, but the cartilage in your body is composed of about 80 percent water, and this is what helps to cushion your joints. When you become dehydrated, your body will take water from other areas of your body, including your cartilage. This can wreck havoc on your joints, especially if you are regularly dehydrated.

There’s disagreement in the scientific and medical communities over how much water you should drink each day. Use your body as a guide. if you are thirsty, drink water. If you do sports, exercise or work somewhere hot, increase your water intake to replace the moisture you are losing in sweat.

Adjust your weight

Your joints are only meant to handle a certain amount of force. If you’re overweight, it’s likely you’re putting a lot of additional stress on your joints. For every ten pounds of extra weight you are carrying, for example, you’re adding from 20 to 39 pounds onto your knees. If you are underweight, you may not have the muscle bulk you need to keep your joints stable and strong.

Work with a doctor or dietitian to find a healthy eating plan if your weight is not where it should be. Your joints will thank you for it!

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