Tips for Keeping Bones and Joints Safe
Your bones and joints are important components of the musculoskeletal system and keeping them healthy and safe can keep you strong and active. Your bones support your body and protect your organs while joints connect your bones and allow you to be flexible.
If you don’t care for your bones and joints, you could end up with osteoarthritis which occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates. The most common type of arthritis is found in fingers, hips, spine, knees, and toes and can cause pain, swelling, and deformity. If not managed, this condition also can cause bone spurs, cartilage erosion, and severe pain.
While you can’t necessarily eliminate injuries to your bones and joints, there are many things you can do to support the health of them.
Diet: Eating foods rich in calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients is good for your bones and joints and also can help with any inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Vitamin D rich foods such as fatty fish, fortified cereal, and orange juice as well as calcium rich foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, and leafy greens like spinach are great to help keep bones and joints strong and healthy.
Posture: Good posture is great for keeping bones and joints in the correct position so that muscles are being used properly. It also helps cut down on the wear and tear of joint surfaces to help prevent the onset of osteoarthritis and decreases the strain on the ligaments in the spine.
Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for bone and joint health. Additional pounds can cause major damage to your joints including breaking down your tissue and creating permanent damage. In addition, individuals with a higher BMI can create weaker bones and bone loss which increases your changes of injury and pain.
Exercise: Movement and staying active is important even if you have joint and bone pain. Exercises including strength training, yoga, or aerobics can help strengthen your muscles, slow mineral loss, and help with balance which aides in helping with overall health. If you struggle with bone or joint challenges or osteoarthritis, talk to your doctor about which exercises are right for you.
Stretching: Flexibility is great for bone and joint health. Stretching and performing flexibility exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and Pilates helps you increase your range of motion, which allows you to move with more agility. Flexibility also helps protect your joints and prevent injury, whether you are performing regular daily activities or participating in athletics.
No matter your age or activity level, by taking some of the advice above, you can stay healthier and happier and continue to do the things you love longer. Because it’s our bones and joints that allow us to move in the first place.