No one has to tell you that aging comes with changes — your body lets you know daily that your joints aren’t as young as they used to be.
While you can’t stop the march of time, you can mitigate the effects on your joints with a few practical strategies. Here, Dr. Jason Butler and Dr. Mark Dirnberger at the Regency Pain & Therapy Institute in Mansfield, Texas, explain how to keep your joints healthy throughout your golden years.
What happens to joints as you age?
Your joints are marvels of movement, allowing you to perform a wide range of activities, from walking and running to bending and grasping. However, like any other part of your body, they’re subject to aging.
Over time, the cartilage in your joints thins and becomes less resilient. This can lead to osteoarthritis, a common condition affecting millions. Age also affects your muscles and ligaments — they lose their elasticity and reduce joint mobility and stability.
Lifestyle habits for healthy joints
The good news is that you can do a lot to maintain your joint health and prevent or delay the effects of advanced age.
1. Exercising regularly
Regular workouts fortify the muscles surrounding your joints, improve your bone density, and make your joints more flexible. Low-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, and walking are best because they promote cardiovascular health while being gentle on the joints.
2. Maintaining a healthy weight
Excess weight puts additional pressure on your joints, especially your knees, hips, and back. Maintaining a healthy weight can alleviate this strain and decrease your risk of developing osteoarthritis.
3. Eating a balanced diet
Your joints love a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like certain fish, alleviates joint inflammation.
4. Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D
Your bones and joints thrive on calcium. Dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and certain types of fish are excellent sources of calcium. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so take them together. Sunlight, fatty fish, and fortified dairy products are good sources of vitamin D.
5. Quitting smoking
Smoking accelerates cartilage loss and worsens joint pain. By quitting smoking, you not only improve your overall health, but you also reduce the risk of various joint disorders.
6. Curbing the cocktails
Excessive alcohol consumption can reduce bone mass and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Limit alcohol to moderate levels to maintain good bone health.
7. Practicing good posture
Maintaining good posture, whether standing or sitting, significantly reduces joint stress.
8. Choosing the right shoes
Wearing shoes that provide proper support reduces strain on your knees and hips. Opt for footwear with good arch support and cushioning.
9. Listening to your body
Don't ignore persistent joint pain or discomfort. If you have recurring or severe pain, call us. Early intervention can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.
10. Ensuring good bone health
Keeping your bones strong and healthy could prevent osteoporosis — a condition that weakens bones and makes them prone to fractures.
Exercise also comes into play here — weight-bearing exercises, like walking, jogging, and weight lifting, stimulate bone formation and increase bone density.
Seeking professional help
Our experienced team at Regency Pain & Therapy Institute has multiple treatments and therapies to help you keep your joints healthy. If you're experiencing joint pain, talk to our specialists about getting an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.
It’s up to you to stick to the plan. This may involve physical therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, or even surgery.
Your joints will last a lifetime if you take care of them — and we can help. If you have any concerns about your joint or bone health, call the Regency Pain & Therapy Institute.