Many people with arthritis resist regular physical activity or exercise because they fear it will increase pain or further damage their joints. The body is supposed to move; our joints allow for movement.
In fact, movement eases joint stiffness, reduces joint pain, strengthens the muscles which surround the joints, and help us maintain a healthy weight. The benefits are real, so keep moving!
Hip and knee replacements used to be for “old folks,” but new data from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reveals a troubling surge in joint replacement surgeries for the under-65 set.
Here are five easy changes to make now so your joints will last a lifetime.
Try: Food-based antioxidants
Why they Work: Antioxidants combat the oxidative stress associated with inflammation and joint diseases like arthritis.
Make the change: Eat 1 cup per day of red or purple fruits, such as berries, cherries, pomegranates, or red grapes, or drink 1 cup juice without added sugar.
Try: Omega-3 fatty acids
Why they work: These polyunsaturated fats are naturally anti-inflammatory.
Make the change: Sprinkle omega 3–rich ground flaxseeds onto your morning cereal, or add a handful of walnuts to yogurt or salads.
Try: Strengthening your quadriceps
Why it works: Strong quads support your knees, reduce pain, and prevent cartilage loss.
Make the change: Sign up for spin classes, and add squats to your warm-ups every time you work out.
Try: Weight loss
Why it works: Each pound of extra weight results in a fourfold increase in the load exerted on the knee per step.
Make the change: Incorporate low-impact aerobic activity three times a week: Walk, bike, or swim for 30 minutes.
Try: Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D and calcium are two nutrients that are required for healthy bones. Vitamin D is actually needed for calcium absorption. You can obtain vitamin D through sun exposure, diet, or supplementation.
Many people need some supplementation. Your healthcare provider can order a blood test to determine if you are deficient in vitamin D. Low calcium is associated with decreased bone density and increased fracture risk.