The rubbery cushion in your joints, called cartilage, absorbs shock for your bones and allows them to glide smoothly when you move.
As you age, your cartilage wears away. Consequently, when there isn’t enough left in your joints to protect your bones from damaging each other, then you feel pain and stiffness. This condition is known as arthritis. You can’t always prevent arthritis as the older you get the more likely you are to have joint pain. Family history also plays a role in whether you are at risk to get arthritis.
Is there anything you can do to delay or prevent arthritis? Yes, there are some things that you can do:
- Watch your weight
Excess body weight is one of the greatest risk factors for arthritis since the more pressure you put on your joints, the faster they wear out.
“Every extra pound of weight you have on is 4 pounds of pressure on the weight-bearing joints, like your knees and hips,” explains Scott Zashin, MD, a board-certified rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. “Losing weight is one thing patients can do that really makes a difference.” As the pounds drop, you will reduce stress on your joints thereby delaying arthritis.
- Wear supportive foot wear
If you are a woman and wear high heels, the older you get the more you should consider exchanging your high heels for more joint-friendly and supportive shoes.
Another thing to consider is that wearing high heels makes someone more prone to falling, therefore, injuring their joints. Regardless of gender, once you pass the age of 60 (or possibly younger depending on the person), you should buy joint supportive foot wear.
- Do non-impact exercises
High-impact exercises that involve running put a lot of stress on your joints and can wear down your cartilage faster than normal. To stay active and prevent arthritis, better exercise choices are brisk walking, cycling, weight-lifting, yoga and swimming.
Lifting weights strengthens your muscles around the joints giving them better stability while yoga stretches increase flexibility and your range of motion.
Walking, cycling and swimming are great cardio activities, especially if you are trying to lose weight. If you are lifting weights be sure to consult with a personal trainer to make sure you are using the proper techniques thus avoiding any injuries. If you are beginning a new workout regimen, especially if you have been inactive or have any heart issues, check with your doctor beforehand.
- Use better body mechanics
When performing physical tasks, how you hold your body and lift anything with weight matters. Good body mechanics, like lifting with your legs instead of your back and carrying bags with your forearms instead of gripping with your hands take much of the stress off your joints.
- Stay hydrated
The cartilage in your joints is mostly composed of water, which cushions your joints. When you’re dehydrated, water gets sucked out of the cartilage so it’s more easily damaged by wear and tear. Everyone, no matter their age, should keep their cartilage and body healthy by drinking water throughout the day.
- Eat More Hydrolyzed Collagen
Our collagen levels decline with age and that can leave our joints in pain. Collagen is the key protein within the cartilage of the joints. As that key protein breaks down, our joints are more likely to grind together and cause pain.
Taking Ideal Collagen can help increase the hydrolyzed collagen in your diet.
Why hydrolyzed collagen? Hydrolyzed collagen is the best form for the body to absorb. Hydrolyzed collagen also can be used throughout the body to help naturally increase collagen levels for added support for the health of the joints.
7. Visit your doctor
If you do start to develop joint stiffness or pain, make an appointment to see your doctor. Because the damage from arthritis is progressive, the longer you wait to seek treatment the more destruction can occur to your joints. Your doctor can suggest treatments or lifestyle changes that can slow the progress of your arthritis and/or refer you to a specialist.