10 Ways to Protect Your Joints
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As we get older, we put more pressure, wear and tear on our joints. After years of this, what seems to be basic and simple movements and motions can get harder and more difficult to complete, making life seem a bit more difficult in general. On top of that, if you work now at a job that’s physically demanding or play sports that have a high level of strenuous body movement, chances are that the older you get, the more work out your body will be.
There are also counter-opinions that state that performing these rigorous activities might actually benefit you as you get older. In comparison to younger people who are sedentary, these sports or jobs can be profitable in the long run because it prepares and adjusts your body to being used to having itself under stress, therefore making it more adaptable as you get older. It also helps promote a more active lifestyle as you age, which can reap all sorts of benefits.
However at the end of the day, there are bumps in the course of our life that we go through every day. Lifts that we can maneuver differently, or pressure and strain that we can avoid that will help our bodies in the long run.
Here are some tips and advice to make life a little easier on the joints and protect them for the long run. Remember life is a marathon, not a sprint!
1. Organize strategically
This might seem like an odd thing to advise, but if you take the simple task in organizing your closets, drawers or cabinets in putting the things most used at the front, this will eliminate excess effort that it takes to reach, bend or strain to get at. The less stress on your joints that it takes to do every day tasks, it will pay off more in the long run.
2. Watch the lifting
Of course, if you have to lift, try to use your legs more than your back. To do this, if reach down and picking up a box or a child, squat down and keep your back straight and your chest upright. This form will be less strenuous on the back and if done correctly, also lighter on the knees.
If it is possible, try to avoid lifting heavy things as much as possible. (That’s what the husbands are for, ladies…We know you can do it, they know you can do it, but why do it if it makes them feel better about themselves?) If you have to lift, for instance, a bag of potatoes and move them across the counter to the sink, or if you’re arranging chairs and tables for extra guests, try sliding things around! (Of course, doing your best to avoid damaging your floors and counters as well.)
3. Two’s a party?
When it comes to arthritis, most people have it in the joints in their hands. (Those of us with cells are in for some trouble in later years, but not much we can do about that now.) To avoid effort and too much strenuous activity in the joints in your hands, make it a habit to lift things that are relatively heavy (like a pitcher of lemonade, or a tray of food), with two hands instead of just one. This will distribute the weight and put less stress on your hands.
4. Bigger is better
Okay, not necessarily. Maybe.. But in this scenario, we are talking about muscle groups and joints. If you can, try using the bigger joints that are less likely to be as strenuous when you have the option. For instance, carrying your purse on your forearm or shoulder instead of holding it with the straps through your fingers. This might seem like such a small adjustment, but the little things all add up.
5. Get healthy
This might be a hard pill to swallow, but not only will you look better, you will feel better too. The bottom line is that the more weight that you have on your body means more stress you are putting on your joints every day. Protecting your joints can be another great (and one of many) reason to start the weight loss journey you’ve been putting off for so long.
6. Don’t skip the warm up
If you’re already working out (good for you! Awesome!), don’t jump right into the workout. Just like a well tuned car in the winter, you need to let the engine run for a little bit to ease into a drive. Warming up your body for a workout, no matter how intense or easy it is, is extremely important and will have large results in the long run.
7. Watch the shoes
As tempting as a nice pair of heels are, opt for the smaller heeled ones or just better shoes for more support. Especially if it is not necessary for you to be wearing them. That doesn’t mean your fashion choices will suffer! If it is necessary to wear heels, try wearing them less, or bring flats to wear at your desk or during the day.
8. Don’t be embarrassed about the bulky brace
If you engage in sport or are on your feet most of the day, it might be a good idea to invest in a well-fitting brace. Whether it be for your knees, your wrists, elbows or back, bracing your joints for common movements can help you perform better and lessen the stress on your joints.
9. Take the time to pamper
Regular massages and baths, especially as we get older can be a lifesaver. Recovery is just as important as the workout, and loosening those tight muscles will then help the joints they’re attached to, making the next workout or movement less painful. Baths have even been proved to be more helpful for those who have muscular dystrophy or any related body illnesses.
10. Visit the doctor regularly
No one will know better how to personally help you than your own doctor. You can ask them direct questions and actually check in with your body to help you get the most out of your joints and keep them at their healthiest!