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» How to Keep Your Joints Feeling Their Best

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The older people get, the harder time they have maintaining their flexibility. When joints become stiff, it can result in a person suffering from decrease mobility and experiencing frequent joint pain. To keep your joints healthy, you need to continue to move them. The more frequently you get up to move about, the less stiff your joints will become. So whether you’re at a desk, watching TV, or lying down reading, the first step to better joint mobility is to get up and move around more often.  Here are a few other helpful joint tips to keep in mind.

Causes of Joint Pain

When a person overuses or injures the cartilage in their joints, it can begin to break down. This can lead to a narrowing of the joint space, and cause the bones to begin rubbing together. Painful bone growth, or spurs, may begin to form as a result of this friction. This in turn can cause stiffness, swelling, and potentially osteoarthritis, the most common form of the condition. This type of arthritis shouldn’t be confused with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that causes frequent and extreme inflammation.

One of the most common ways you can damage you joints is through injury. To guard against this type of injury, it’s always advisable to wear knee and elbow pads when participating in high risk activities such as skating, skiing, or snowboarding. If you already suffer from joint pain, you should consider wearing knee or elbow braces when playing sports like golf or tennis.

Another common issue that leads to joint pain is being overweight. Extra pounds that exceed what your frame should hold place additional strain on your knees, hips, and back. This increases the likelihood of you suffering a cartilage breakdown. Losing just a little weight can greatly reduce this excess strain, as for every pound lost, you take four pounds of pressure of off your knees.

Keeping Joints Healthy

Many arthritis experts recommend stretching as one of the most important types of exercise. To get the most out of the activity, try stretching daily. However, if you don’t have time for a daily stretching routine, you need to at least engage in some moderate stretching three times a week. However, it’s important that you don’t stretch cold muscles. To loosen up the ligaments, joints and tendons around your muscles, start by performing a light warm up before stretching

While staying active remains an important part of keeping joints flexible, you need to select the right types of exercises that protect joint health. Low-impact exercises, such as swimming, bicycling, and walking offer you the opportunity to keep joints flexible without subjecting them to the pounding impact other types of high intensity exercises can cause. To help strengthen the muscles that surround your joints, you should also include a little light weight lifting in your exercise routine. If you already suffer from some type of arthritis, you should consult with a doctor prior to starting any exercise routine.

It’s important that you exercise the full range of motion in each of your joints to keep them flexible. Range of motion refers to the normal extent each joint can be moved in a certain direction. However, you need to know the limits of your joints. While it’s not unusual to experience some slight aches in your muscles after exercising, the pain shouldn’t last over 48 hours. If you experience joint pain that lasts longer than a couple of days, you may have overworked and stressed out your joints.

Finally, your diet can also play an important role in the health of your joints. Individuals who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis need to make a point of eating more fish. Fatty coldwater fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are great sources of omeg-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s can not only keep your joints healthy, they can also decrease inflammation.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. Richard Dietrich, a NW Portland dentist.

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