It’s no secret that as we age, the cartilage, which is the cushion in between our joints, wears down. Although there is nothing we can do about the aging process that our bodies go through, there are some changes you can make to help be a bit nicer on your joints.
Smoking cigarettes has a lot of disadvantages for our health, and joint damage is no different. The nicotine that is in cigarettes narrows blood vessels and can restrict the amount of oxygen that reaches the cartilage in our joints. What happens when your joints cant get the oxygen and nutrients it needs? Your joints takes them from the surrounding bones.
2. An inactive lifestyle
According to a study in Arthritis & Rheumatology, followed more than 1.7 million people for more than 4 years and have found that those who live an inactive lifestyle were about 3-5 times more likely get osteoarthritis.
Angelie Mascarinas, M.D., a physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, states “frequent sitting leads to muscle tightness in the hips and legs and weakens the core-stabilizing muscles.”
The solution? Try and aim to do 30 minutes of joint-friendly exercises about 5 times a week. You can view joint-friendly exercises here.
3. Overdoing exercise
If you’re someone who crams your workouts into the weekends…experts say don’t! Too much exercising at once can do damage to your joints. Break up your workouts and stretches throughout the week to put less stress on your joints.
4. Carrying a heavy load
Carrying objects that are too heavy puts stress and strain on your joints and bones. If you do end up carrying something that is heavy, experts say to make sure to use both of your palms or arms and hold the item close to your body.
5. Eating pro-inflammatory foods
Foods such as red meat, white sugar, soda and French fries can worsen joint pain. Mascarinas suggests to start include anti-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acid foods into your diet such as olive oil, berries and fish. “Limiting pro-inflammatory foods can decrease joint pain.”
Believe it or not, texting often on the small keyboards that’s built into our phones creates inflammation in the joints. It’s hard to avoid living in a digital world, but experts suggest taking breaks and use the speech-to-text function instead.