Your joints are complex structures, and prone to many types of injuries and disorders. We only tend to think about our joints once some damage has already occurred. Prevention, as they say, is better than a cure.
Here are seven tips on how to maintain healthy joints over a lifetime.
- Keep moving – When there’s pain, such as if you live with arthritis, you may be tempted to cut back on physical activity. That’s a mistake. If you are capable, and your doctor has given you the green light, staying active keeps joints more flexible, strengthens muscles, and eases stiffness.
- Listen to your body – If you start to feel pain while you’re moving, working out or gardening, stop, and/or take measures to alleviate the pain. Learn about your body mechanics, and where the weakest areas are, so you can avoid putting them under stress. You can always address this with your physical therapist and we can diagnose to see if we can find ways to help you strengthen those areas that are weak in your body.
- Know your limits – It’s great to push yourself, and you can achieve some great breakthroughs in working out, sports, or other activities by doing so. However, you also have to learn your limits. Don’t push too far where to end up in pain or too exhausted to do activity the next day. Ensure you balance activity and rest.
- Strengthen the core and your other muscles – Building and maintaining the strength of major muscle groups that surround and connect to your joints helps you maintain balance and flexibility, as well as helping you maintain full range of motion. Essentially this means strengthening your whole body.
- Use available supports – If you are involved in any activity, including sports or everyday work, that entails repeated motions, or maintaining the same position, over long periods of time, learn where the stress is greatest, and find supports to help. That may involve appliances such as a back rest, wrist brace, or similar device. Check with your doctor or ask your physical therapist for their recommendations.
- Choose low impact – When it comes to activities, look for low impact exercises and sports that are easy on your joints, such as cycling or swimming. Your physical therapist can provide you with a customized exercise plan that takes any condition you have into account.
- Body mechanics – Learn about ergonomics, and the correct way of moving, whether it involves lifting heavy equipment or perfecting your tennis swing. The proper technique will give you balanced movement that minimizes stress on your joints.
Healthy joints will keep you mobile as you age and maintain your quality of life. If you protect your joints, they will help you live a healthy life and help you to age with less pain.
If you are experiencing any problems with any joint, or have related questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today.