The start of a new year is always the perfect time to reevaluate your health, diet, and daily habits to see if there are things you could work on to help you live a happier, healthier life. When you’re pondering on your New Year’s resolutions, take a moment to think about any pain or discomfort you experienced last year. If you had any—in your neck, back, hips, wrists—it was likely connected to your joints, which is why joint health is so important.
We invite you to take this refreshing opportunity (the start of a new year) to shift your focus when you think about your overall health and make sure it includes joint health as well. Make this the year of total wellness and try to incorporate ways to improve and maintain joint health.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
While BMI charts may sometimes feel unattainable, they exist for a reason—so you know how much weight your frame should be carrying. Our bodies perform optimally when we’re at an ideal weight, so being overweight or obese can start to take a toll on your body. Extra weight must be carried somehow, and it’s our joints (particularly the hip and knee joints) that end up taking on that extra burden. In fact, every pound you lose removes 4 pounds of pressure off your knee.
Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight will come with following the other tips below, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
You’ve probably heard by now that total wellness is about more than JUST weight, JUST exercise, or JUST diet, it’s a combination of all three. You should maintain a healthy weight, but make sure you’re doing so by eating healthy and exercising.
When it comes to joint health, it’s important that you’re taking in all the necessary vitamins and minerals for optimal functioning. Certain foods have been proven to offer great anti-inflammatory benefits to the joints, such as cherries, red peppers, turmeric, kale, oatmeal, and more. Foods that increase inflammation, such as fried or heavily processed foods, should be avoided as much as possible.
3. Work on Your Posture
Posture is something that goes unnoticed by many, but has such a big impact on our bodies. When you have good posture, you have a neutral spine. Bad posture puts unnecessary pressure on the shoulders, neck, and back, and can be a contributor to joint pain and stiffness.
Aside from making an effort to actively be thinking about and correcting your posture, there are plenty of exercises you can do to help re-train your posture and stretch out your back. Doing just a few of these exercises and stretches a few times a week can make a difference!
4. Exercise Regularly
You know when you’ve been sitting for a long time and then you get up and feel really stiff and maybe even some pain? Those feelings of stiffness and pain can compile over the years if you don’t get in regular movement and exercise.
Exercise that gets your heart pumping will help increase blood flow to your muscles and joints, which helps keep cartilage healthy. For people who already struggle with joint pain, exercise may seem counterintuitive to reducing your pain, but it’s actually one of the best ways to overcome sore and stiff joints.
5. Build Muscle and Improve Strength
When considering your exercise routine, you may want to think about adding in some strength training or weight training exercises to strengthen your muscles. Muscles surround your joints and help keep them strong. Building up muscle mass can help protect your joints and keep them healthy.
In fact, it has been found that lifting weights is beneficial to those suffering from osteoarthritis and is often recommended to help ease the pain.
See an Orthopaedic Specialist at OrthoUnited
As you’re setting your New Year’s resolutions, we encourage you to take action on any joint pain you’ve been experiencing the past year. You only have one life to live. Let’s get you back to living it! Contact us today to request a consultation with one of our experienced doctors.