Most of us take our joints for granted until something happens to make them ache, hurt or feel weak. Keep your joints healthy with these ten simple tips.
Joints are complex mechanisms and they haven’t fully adapted to the modern-day lifestyle. With many of us working in jobs that require us to sit down for hours at a time, it can be hard to keep our joints mobile, flexible, strong and healthy. Here are ten ways to help you do just that.
1. Take fish oil capsules
A busy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean unhealthy joints. If you can’t find the time to buy and cook fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon and mackerel), or you just don’t like the taste, buy a good quality fish oil supplement instead. These natural oils are great for reducing inflammation in the joints.
2. Stand up or sit down every 30 minutes
Chances are you’re up and down all day anyway, but on those days when your diary is back-to-back meetings or you’ve got so much to do you can’t stop, remember to change your position regularly. It’s not good to sit or stand all day – try to mix it up at least twice an hour, just for a few minutes to keep your joints mobile and active.
3. Warm up before exercise
Some gentle stretching is enough before a good walk. If you’re planning to go for a run or play a team sport, try a fast walk, some stretching, a gentle jog and a little more stretching. The idea is to warm the joints up and not to shock them with sudden vigorous movement.
And wearing the right gear can make a big difference; joints don’t take kindly to the cold weather. If you’re planning some outdoor pursuits, make sure you get the right kit that will keep you warm. And don’t forget to wear appropriate shoes for the terrain.
4. Keep the weight off
Being overweight can put serious amounts of extra pressure on the joints. For many people, losing weight is the long-term solution – so make that your goal this year. If you struggle with your weight and no amount of diet and exercise seems to work, it could be worth considering weight loss surgery to get yourself started.
5. Cut down on caffeine
Studies have shown that caffeine can weaken your bones, so try to switch from three or four cups a day to one or two.
6. Swim don’t skip
Reduce strain, pressure and impact on your joints by choosing water-based exercises. They allow you to get all the benefits of aerobic exercise but unlike running, for example, the water supports the weight of your body while you do it. If you don’t like swimming consider water aerobics or a team sport such as water polo.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking can reduce bone mass, which is very bad news for your joints. Reduced bone density is called Osteoporosis and having the condition can leave you in pain and susceptible to bone fractures. There are lots of ways to make stopping smoking easier. Try identifying when your cravings are at their strongest and know that the average craving lasts for five minutes. Having five-minute-strategies, such as doing squats to ride out your craving, can really help. If you’re a heavy smoker and you’re worried about quitting using only self-help techniques, it might be worth looking into hypnotherapy treatments.
8. Eat well
A healthy diet does wonders for the whole body but it’s not just about maintaining a healthy weight – a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, protein (eggs, nuts, meats and pulses), the right fats and carbohydrates can give you energy, oxygenate the blood, hydrate the whole body and build and repair muscle . Strong, healthy muscles work to stabilise joints and improve balance, helping you to avoid the injuries that can occur when particular areas of the body are taking more strain than they should.
9. Build your core strength
Building core strength is crucial to overall joint health. A strong middle can help you to distribute weight and pressure more evenly throughout the body, taking the strain off joints like the spine, hips and knees.
10. Switch heels for flats
Research shows that wearing three-inch heels puts seven times more stress on your foot than a one-inch heel. Such unnecessary extra strain can lead to ankle, knee, hip and back pain, and even osteoarthritis.
Don’t suffer in silence
If you’re suffering with joint pain, don’t keep it to yourself – tell your GP. You may need specialist orthopaedic treatment. To find out more about how to manage pain download your free joint pain guide.
To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337 or make an online enquiry.