6 Ways To Protect Your Joints As You Age
Hi, I’m Kathy Smith in your wellness room. According to the Harvard Health Publications, close to 20 percent of people in the United States have arthritis. As we age, joint movements like gliding, rolling, bending, and rotating are no longer performed with ease. Instead, our joints creak and resist movement, causing aches and pains. So how can you protect your body from experiencing this as you get older?
Try these 6 tips to help protect your joints from injury as you age:
1. Add Omega-3 Fats To Your Plate
Foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, olive oil and flax seeds help promote joint comfort. These omega-3s get incorporated into joint cartilage cells, where they allow joints move smoothly. To increase your intake of omega-3s, try cooking with olive oil, taking a daily fish oil supplement, or add flax seeds to your morning smoothie.
2. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Studies have shown that seniors with better joints also have more antioxidants in their blood and joint fluids. So eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables daily, along with a daily multivitamin will protect your joints. Foods that are high in anti-oxidants include the berry family: cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
3. Have a regular exercise program
Exercise is the fountain of youth, because it keeps your muscles well oiled and your joints fluid and supple. Exercises that are specifically gentle to joints are cycling, swimming, and stretching. Also, remember to include a warm-up before all of your aerobic and strength training activities. Tendons, ligaments and muscles tend to tighten with age and need a longer warm-up before engaging in physical activity. A simple marching in place can do the trick.
4. Keep Your Weight Down
The greater your weight, the more wear and tear your joints go through. Over time, your joints are unable to bear your excess weight, and there are minute tears in tissue of your joints can get inflamed leading to further complications. Also, obesity can trigger osteoporosis and arthritis, both of which can lead to ultimate joint degeneration.
5. Keep moving!
Sitting is the new smoking! Keep your body moving and avoid sitting in one place for more than a half hour. When you remain seated, your joints have to take a great deal of your seated weight, leading to more wear and tear.
6. Maintain proper posture
It’s time for a posture check! If you’re sitting, make sure your legs are straight and let your body make a 90-degree angle with your knees; do not stoop. Let your weight rest on your hip and leg bones. Use adequate back support and ensure proper height alignment to a counter, table or desk, keeping both feet on the floor.
When you stand, distribute your weight and stress evenly on both feet. Keep your head level; avoid holding the head bent forward nor to one side.
Remember, protecting your joints as you age should become a high priority in order to maximize your ability and function as long as you can. Here’s to your health!
These are great tips, but please take note that in order for our body to assimilate and reap the benefits from flax seeds, they MUST be ground up into a powder/meal. Otherwise, the seeds just pass RIGHT through our systems, completely undigested. Our bodies won’t break them down and, therefore, their nutrients (ie: omega-3s) only become available to use if we break them up BEFORE eating. So, just toss them in a coffee grinder before using (one specially designated for nuts and seeds if you don’t want your flax meal tasting like coffee 🙂 ). It’s best to grind them as needed since flax meal oxidizes (loses nutrients/goes rancid) quickly. If you don’t have the time or patience to do grind just before using (I don’t) and want to do them in larger batches, just be sure to store in the fridge or freezer in a dark container as flax is sensitive to light and heat. (I just throw my meal in a glass jar wrapped in foil and toss it in the freezer.)