Bad joints are common with aging.
Things wear out over time and with use.
This is true of brake pads on cars and batteries in devices.
It is also is true of the human body.
Cartilage is the protective cushion between bones.
Over time and use, this cushion wears down and causes arthritis.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of adults older than 65 have some form of arthritis.
Of the types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is most common.
Although there is little people can do to avoid daily wear on their joints, did you know certain lifestyle choices can increase your chances of developing bad joints?
Well, it turns out they can.
What habits should you avoid to protect your joints?
Nicotine is a substance found in cigarettes.
Nicotine can lead to cartilage loss because it narrows the blood vessels and restricts the oxygen available to reach the cartilage in the joints.
Smoking is not only bad for your joints.
It is also bad for bones.
Those who smoke have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis means your bones become brittle.
Oh, and smoking is also hard on your lungs.
Lack of physical activity.
Without regular physical activity, it is easy to exceed your healthy weight.
Holding extra pounds on your body causes strain in your hip, knee, and hand joints.
According to a study of more than 1.7 million individuals and published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, obese participants who had a body mass index of 30 or greater were three to five times more likely to develop osteoarthritis in their knees.
In addition to the extra pounds, sitting for long stretches of time can weaken core muscles and tighten leg and hip muscles.
To avoid the negative impact of a sedentary lifestyle, incorporate 30 minutes of low-impact activities like swimming, walking, or water aerobics five days a week.
Every 30 minutes, you should also stand up and stretch.
Although lack of physical activity is a problem, being too active can also lead to joint injury.
It is important to incorporate both strength training and aerobic exercise into your workout plan.
Strength training has been shown through several studies to benefit management of arthritis.
Lifting a heavy load.
Carrying heavy objects creates stress and and torque on joints.
This can speed up cartilage deterioration.
What is a heavy load?
If you need more than one hand to lift it, then the weight is considered heavy.
To help relieve stress when lifting, use your palms of both hands or your arms instead of your hands when lifting large items.
Keeping the objects close to your body can also relieve stress on your joints.
Eating inflammatory foods.
Certain foods lead to inflammation in the body.
Common culprits are soda, white sugar, french fries, pastries, and red meats.
I know, all the good stuff.
Instead, include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
These include mackerel, salmon, and flax seed.
Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and leafy greens can also benefit your joints.
Typing on a keyboard can inflame tendon sheaths and joints.
This can cause stiffness and pain.
Can you say “carpal tunnel syndrome“?
An alternative to texting is to use the voice-to-text option on your smartphone.
Although it is common for joints to wear out as people age, certain habits can speed up this process.
Take steps now to create healthy habits for your joints.
Reference: AARP (Jan. 3, 2022) “The 6 Worst Habits for Your Joints”