As we get older, our joints take a beating. Our bones become weaker and less flexible, which can lead to joint pain and arthritic conditions like osteoarthritis. In addition to these age-related changes, everyday activities also increase the stress on your joints—especially if you’re active or athletic. Fortunately, there are some things you can do now that will help keep your body healthy as it ages (and prevent injuries). Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me stay mobile and resilient:
Avoid high-impact exercise and activities.
Avoid high-impact exercise and activities. When you’re starting to feel pain in your joints, it’s important to take it easy on yourself. Try to avoid activities that involve a lot of jumping or running (such as basketball), or any exercise that requires you to twist your body in an unnatural way (such as yoga).
If this isn’t your first rodeo with joint issues, you may have noticed a common theme: the more energy is put into an activity, the more damage it can cause to your joints. And while we all love our sports teams and pickup games with friends, remember that sometimes we just need to say no when our bodies are telling us “no.”
Keep up with calcium intake.
Calcium plays an important role in bone health, and it is commonly found in dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens and broccoli are also a good source of calcium as well as nuts like almonds and cashews. Tofu can serve as a good alternative to meat while still providing the same iron content that meat does—do not be afraid to try this alternative! If you are vegan or lactose intolerant there are many other ways you can get your daily dose of calcium including with supplements such as calcium carbonate pills or even by taking magnesium orotate tablets which help absorb the nutrients better into your body!
Wear knee braces.
Wearing a knee brace will help keep your knees from bending too far, and it can also lessen the pain you feel when exercising. Knee braces are available in many different styles, so there’s sure to be one that fits your needs and budget. Some compressa knee sleeves are made of elastic fabric material that compresses the area around the knee to protect it from injury; others like padded knee sleeve are made of metal or plastic and provide more support for extreme sports like skiing and snowboarding.
At the end of the day, it’s really up to you to decide what kind of exercise routine is best for your body. If you’re feeling pain that doesn’t subside after a few days, it may be time to seek medical help. But if not, don’t be afraid to push yourself—it won’t hurt as long as you take care of yourself!