4 Tips to Keep Your Joints Healthy
Maintaining joint health relies on a combination of things: a healthy lifestyle, maintaining ideal weight and regular exercises. This is especially important if you wish to reduce the likelihood of arthritis as you age. Following simple techniques to reduce the burden on your joints can help you manage joint discomfort as you age.
Here are 4 tips for protecting your joints:
1. Keep Moving
The golden rule of maintaining good joint health is staying active. Staying in one position for too long can make your joints stiff—and this only worsens over the years, resulting in joint pain and muscle soreness. Therefore, it’s important to take breaks from your desk and stretch every 15 minutes. Same goes for when you’re reading in bed or watching television.
Many people fear that regular physical activity may further damage their joints but this isn’t true. Low-impact exercises like walking, cycling, swimming and strength training help keep your joints mobile and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints—in addition to helping you maintain healthy weight.
2. Focus on joint protection
Although regular physical activities are important for you, it’s just as crucial to protect your joints. The goal is to pay close attention to the way you exercise and focus on reducing stress placed on your joints. Be mindful of the following things:
- Don’t disregard the pain signals
- Pay attention to body mechanics when exercising
- Don’t overdo exercises; balance your activities and take rest breaks
- It’s always a good idea to look into mobility aids and assistive devices
- Use padding when playing contact supports
3. Build muscle
Muscles take the strain off of your joints; if your muscles don’t support your body weight appropriately, your joints will end up taking the hit instead. You don’t need to hire a gym trainer or pound an intensive workout for that, regular weight-bearing exercises can easily do the trick.
Focus on strengthening the muscles around the knee and hip joints since these joints support your entire body weight. Tightness around the quadriceps or adductor muscles is often the leading cause of joint pain.
Additionally, building core strength improves your overall balance—reducing the likelihood of joint damage due to falls. Plus, there are plenty of easy-to-do exercises that you can do at home to develop core strength.
4. Proper posture
Proper posture can minimize the added stress on your joints and reduce the risk of back, neck and shoulder pain. Not only does terrible posture limit your range of motion, it also makes it harder for the surrounding muscles to take load off your joints. Over the years, poor posture can lead to a misaligned spine which only adds to the joint stress and pain.
Try to be mindful of your posture as much as you can—especially when performing repetitive motion or lifting heavy objects.
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