When most people think of health and fitness, they focus on aspects light body weight, muscle mass, energy levels, and so on. However, there’s another important element that should be on your overall health checklist: keeping your essential and hard-working joints healthy and strong.
What Are Joints?
Joints are the connectors between various bones that allow for bending and motion. There are between 300-400 joints in the body, including those in the elbow, knee, neck, hip, and even located between the bones in the middle ear.
And in case you’re wondering, the 300-400 range doesn’t mean that you grow/lose joints, but that medical professionals differ in what they define as a joint: some say it’s any area where two bones contact each other, while others say that this connector must serve a functional purpose in order to be called a joint. Suffice it to say, you have many joints in your body, and keeping all of them healthy is important!
Why Do Joints Break Down?
Joints can break down due to sudden dislocations, but for most people, it’s the result of ongoing “wear and tear” from years of chronic pressure that is likely exacerbated by dietary deficiencies. Arthritis and bursitis are two very common conditions that trace back to poor joint health.
Keeping Your Joints Healthy & Strong
The good news is that you can significantly improve your overall joint health. Here are three simple tips to keep your joints lubricated, flexible and strong for years to come:
1. Take Regular Walks
Taking regular, brisk walks for between 30-60 minutes can greatly improve your joint health. If 30-60 minutes is not convenient or desirable in a single walk, then you can break this down into 2 or 3 walks, but try not to make them too short as you need your joints to get moving. Walking is particularly helpful if you suffer from any form of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Improve Your Diet
Diet has a major impact on joint health — for better or for worse. Obviously, you want to head in the former direction, which means that your diet should include a sufficient amount of calcium, protein, and Vitamin D. WebMD also points out that studies show boosting intake of antioxidants and Vitamin C may improve joint health.
3. Wear the Right Shoes
If you think that all shoes are basically created equal — think again! Some are supportive, while others actually worsen and weaken joint health. It’s also very important to determine if, like millions of people, your foot strike pattern reveals that you overpronate (outward roll) or underpronate (inward roll). If either of these are the case, you’ll need orthotics or perhaps custom-made shoes to correct for the structural imbalance.
A Final Word
Before wrapping up, keep this in mind: your body is constantly communicating with you; or at least, it’s trying to. And while swelling, discomfort and pain in your joints isn’t the “nicest” way to have a chat with your body, please don’t ignore any of these signs and symptoms. For more information visit http://www.oastl.com. Your joints will thank you!