The best defense, folks, is a good offense! Protecting your joints works best when you start earlier. And no matter how old you are, you can help preserve the health and mobility of your joints in a lot of simple ways. Use the simple joint safe-guarding tips below to keep yours in the best of shape.
Stop smoking as soon as you can
Smoking is known to increase the levels of inflammation in your body and is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353648). Smokers also tend to have more serious cases if they do develop RA. In addition, smoking raises your risk of bone fractures and has an overall negative impact on your tendons and bones. In short, this is one lifestyle factor that can impact many parts of the body.
Keep your weight in check
People who are obese or overweight are at a higher risk of joint damage and pain because of the increased pressure on the joints. They are also at higher risk of developing conditions such as osteoarthritis. Keeping your weight at a healthy level will reduce the load on your joints.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go on a risky crash diet. Instead, focus on making better food choices and introducing more exercise and physical movement into your daily routine.
Don’t wear impractical shoes all day
Some styles of shoes, such as high heels, simply aren’t meant to be worn every day. This may seem strange, but the height of your heels and the shoe’s flexibility can play a role in how well your joints age. You should consider wearing shoes with the lowest heel possible on most occasions. In addition, your shoes should have the cushioning and support needed for the activity you’re wearing them for. For jogging, for example, you need supportive, sturdier shoes meant for running. The type of footwear you have and when you wear it can have an impact on the burden your joints will have to bear.
Warm up and cool down in exercise
Warm up a bit before you work out and do a cool-down afterward. This can help improve your flexibility and range of motion and reduce the chance of an injury. Make sure your workout routine is one that doesn’t punish your joints, either. If you’re not sure where yours falls, ask a trainer at your gym to review your current routine.