The adult human body has 206 bones and 230 joints that work in harmony to allow movement. Although you may seldom think about this amazing framework inside our bodies, it is wise to care for bones and joints to allow for lifelong mobility. The United States Bone and Joint Initiative has designated Oct. 12 through 20 as a time to become aware of the importance of caring for bones and joints. Here are six ways to care for bones and joints:
Keep an eye on the scale Your bones and joints have to do a lot of work. Simply walking across a level ground exerts a force on the knees. The Arthritis Foundation notes that every pound of excess weight puts four pounds of extra pressure on your joints. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on knees, ankles, hips and other bones and joints.
Stand tall When you keep your body in proper alignment, your bones and joints are able to work efficiently. Good standing posture balances your weight over your feet and put less strain on your spine and other parts of the body. Being aware of correct posture when sitting, standing, lifting or walking can help reduce wear and tear on bones and joints. There are other health benefits to good posture, including increased lung capacity, better circulation and reduced back pain.
Be calcium conscious and eat a healthy diet During natural aging, bones begin to thin and become more fragile. One way to combat this progression is to get enough calcium. Calcium and vitamin D work together to protect your bones. The most common sources of these two vitamins are dairy products like milk and cheese, dark leafy greens, broccoli and salmon. Spending time in the sun and eating mushrooms, fatty fish, egg yolks and vitamin D fortified foods can also provide the body with vitamin D.
A diet focused on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains is beneficial for your overall health as well as your bones and joints.
Stay strong In order for joints to perform properly, the muscles supporting them must be healthy and strong. If these muscles aren’t doing their job, there is excess strain placed on the joint. The best type of exercise for keeping the joints healthy is strength training where the weight or resistance is gradually increased. Check with a physical therapist for exercises to build strength.
Stay active You don’t have to join a gym to be active, but you do need to spend time each day moving. Spending eight hours at a desk is considered working, but it is not considered exercise. Incorporate weight bearing exercises into your day. Examples of weight bearing exercises are walking, stair climbing and hiking. These activities can help strengthen bones and keep joints mobile.
Get a bone density test Keep track of your bone health by having a bone density test as you age. Don’t wait until you have broken a bone to discover whether you should be paying extra attention to your bone health. This simple test uses X-rays to determine your risk of breaking a bone as well as to diagnose and monitor osteoporosis.
When joints become painful Joint replacement is often the remedy for joints that have become too painful. For these operations to be successful, a focused period of rehabilitation needs to take place. To be sure of getting the best care possible following joint replacement surgery, many choose to recover in a short-term care facility such as Glenview Terrace where there are experienced staff members ready to address wound care, pain management and physical therapy.
Not getting enough water can impact all parts of the body including hard tissues like bones& joints. Good hydration helps reduce joint inflammation by flushing out toxins, reduces likelihood of gout attacks, carries nutrients to the joints, encourages growth of healthy cartilage tissue, and reduces intensity of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Ensuring you are well hydrated is a simple and effective way to keep your joints healthy.