Your joints are arguably the most underappreciated aspect of your body. Without joints, we’d be unable to move and do normal things. Nevertheless, people don’t tend to focus on things like joint health. It’s something that falls to the back of our minds and gets neglected. In many ways, we only recognize the importance of joint health when we suffer from joint-related issues. By this time, it’s often too late - and you’re left wishing you devoted more time to supporting your joints.
In this post, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about supporting joints as you get older. We’ll discuss why this is so critical for your overall health while providing some tips and guidance on what you should do.
The Importance Of Healthy Joints
Your joints are made up of multiple different elements, most notably:
- Synovial fluid
Joints are designed for movement; healthy joints help us move better, and without pain. In turn, we’re capable of going about our daily tasks without any major issues. If you don’t support your joints, they become “unhealthy.” This means they no longer move within the optimal range of motion and you see all kinds of side effects. Pain is an obvious one, but you also feel more restricted in what you can do. Something as simple as walking becomes a challenge when your joints aren’t taken care of.
Furthermore, not supporting your joints can lead to chronic conditions - such as arthritis. It’s believed that 1 in 4 US adults have arthritis and that only accounts for individuals with a proper diagnosis. The actual figure could be much higher! Arthritis can be a debilitating condition that severely impacts your quality of life.
For example, people with joint pain are likely to be less active than those with healthy joints. Why? Because you struggle to walk around for long periods or to lift things. The pain associated with bad joints can be enough to keep you stationary every single day. In turn, this lack of physical movement can contribute to a wide variety of health problems. According to the CDC, not getting enough physical activity can lead to an increased risk of the following:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Keeping all of this in mind, healthy joints are important as they prevent pain and suffering, particularly as you get older. Supporting your joints can help you avoid issues like arthritis, drastically improving your quality of life. You’re able to be more physically active, which contributes to better all-around health.
How Do You Support Your Joints?
As mentioned before, your joints are made up of multiple things. Every joint will consist of two or more bones meeting one another. They will be designed to move in certain ways - such as hinging, pivoting, or moving in multiple directions.
Bones are covered by cartilage, which protects them and prevents friction during movement. There will also be bursas (fluid-filled sacs) that sit between bones and other structures to further reduce friction and bone pain. Synovial fluid is secreted around joints to aid movement and prevent stiffness.
Of course, all bones are attached to muscles via tendons. Ligaments are also present, connecting bone to bone in a joint for support.
So, when it comes to supporting your joints, you really need to focus on keeping all of the different elements as healthy as possible. The good news is that there are many things you can do - and they’re really not hard to implement into your daily routine…
Boost your bone health
Weak bones lead to weak joints. You should actively look to improve your bone health, which largely comes down to your diet. Getting a lot of calcium will help your bones grow stronger - and there are many foods high in calcium that you should consider eating.
Additionally, vitamin D and vitamin K are key to building strong bones. Without vitamin D, your body cannot absorb all of the calcium you’re ingesting. Similarly, vitamin K is essential for increasing bone mineral density - which is the technical way of saying it makes your bones stronger and harder.
Increase cartilage production
As you get older, your cartilage naturally degenerates. Consequently, your bones are left with less protection, leading to more joint issues. Finding ways to increase cartilage production is essential for supporting healthy joints.
Thankfully, there is a relatively easy solution. Cartilage is formed thanks to collagen - the most abundant protein in the body. As you age, collagen production decreases, which is one of the reasons your skin becomes less firm. Taking collagen supplements will help you boost collagen production, which prevents cartilage from degenerating. Thus, your bones are better protected and you should experience less rubbing when moving certain joints.
Keep your joints well-lubricated
Well-lubricated joints will prevent bones and other structures from rubbing against one another, which can cause inflammation and chronic joint pain.
There are two main ways to keep your joints nicely lubricated:
- Get a lot of omega-3 fatty acids
Exercising will lubricate your joints by pumping blood around your body. This encourages the synovia fluid to excrete, and it can also increase the water content in the fluid. Of course, be sure you stay hydrated while exercising to keep everything nice and fluid.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to improving joint lubrication by encouraging more synovial fluid production. As a consequence, there are numerous studies suggesting that omega-3 can help decrease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Strengthen your muscles
Weak muscles will usually lead to joint problems. If the muscles surrounding a joint aren’t strong, the joint becomes unstable. Therefore, there’s an increased likelihood of developing joint problems.
Strength training is the best way to counter this. Everyone should lift weights or try some form of resistance training to build muscle strength. Stronger muscles support your joints and can prevent injuries or chronic joint issues.
There are a few things to be aware of before you start any strength training program:
- Check with your doctor to see what you’re capable of doing - this will prevent injuries
- Ensure you know the proper lifting techniques to avoid damaging your joints
- Don’t overload your muscles with too much work - take rest days and rotate your exercises to focus on different muscle groups every day
The bottom line is that exercise - specifically resistance training - will support your joints. One study looking at knee osteoarthritis concluded that regular resistance training drastically improved pain and physical function. Effectively, you are strengthening the supporting structures around your joints as your tendons and ligaments also get stronger when training. Plus, as mentioned in an earlier point, exercise improves joint lubrication.
Maintain a good range of motion
Range of motion is the range at which you can move a joint. Healthy joints will have an optimal range of motion, meaning they’re able to move the full way in whichever direction the joint dictates. Stiff joints will have a much more restricted range, which can lead to a lot of pain.
Many joints don’t have a good range of motion because the muscles and ligaments have tightened. In turn, this can also pull bones out of alignment, leading to impingements. To counter this, you should focus on stretching your muscles to keep them at the right length. This avoids pulling bones out of alignment and can improve the general range of motion of a joint.
Doing things like yoga or pilates can be very helpful here. However, there are plenty of stretching routines out there to maintain a good range of motion and keep your joints healthy.
Protect your joints from high impacts
High impacts can damage your joints as they send shockwaves through your body. Constantly sending these waves through a joint will make it deteriorate over time. As such, ensure you avoid any high-impact activities. Running can be good for your health, but it’s really bad for your joints. If you do run, make sure you have supportive sneakers that absorb impacts and stop each step from sending shocks through your joints.
Low-impact exercises are the best way forward, so avoid things that make you jump or land on your feet with excessive force.
Take a joint supplement
Lastly, you can further support your joints by taking a joint supplement. Opt for something like the ActivJoint Tablets to provide your body with a blend of key elements to support mobile joints. You will get more calcium in your diet, plus other minerals to support bone health and healthy joints.
To sum everything up, supporting your joints is important as it prevents pain and suffering when you get older. Healthy joints are less prone to problems that may stop you from living a fulfilling life. Joint pain makes you inactive, which can increase the risk of developing harmful health conditions.
Focus on taking care of your joints today. Look after your bones and all of the other surrounding structures of a joint. If you follow the tips laid out for you above, you will support your joints and keep them healthy for longer.