Habits That Affect Your Joints—The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Old manProtecting your joints is essential to preserving your mobility and avoiding pain. Some habits can benefit your joints while others can cause harm.

Keep reading to learn more, and remember to always ask your doctor for more specific guidance.

The Good

The following habits can help your joints stay healthy:

  • Eating a balanced diet: Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can keep your whole body healthy. A balanced diet ensures that your body gets the nutrients it needs to keep everything healthy and strong. Eating right also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is very important to protecting your joints.
  • Stretching: Regular stretching helps you prevent stiffness and increase your flexibility, which can make it more difficult to injure yourself, especially during exercises.
  • Walking daily: Something as simple as a 20-minute walk every morning can help you protect your joints. Walking helps you maintain bone density without the high impact of running. It also helps you maintain your cardiovascular health and manage your weight.

The Bad

Some habits that hurt your joints include:

  • Carrying a very heavy purse or backpack—this can put uneven pressure on your joints and cause injuries.
  • Exercising without stretching before and afterward—stretching improves your flexibility and prevents injuries
  • Only doing cardio—cardio exercises are important, but strength training strengthens the muscles around the joints, so it is important to keep some variety in our workout routine.
  • Ignoring your body’s signals—if you are experiencing pain or severe fatigue, it is important to listen to your body. You may need to see your doctor or take a rest day.
  • Skimping on sleep—sleep is essential to protecting your joints and your overall health. It is important to get enough sleep and not to exercise when you’re sleep deprived.
  • Avoiding exercise—Don’t avoid exercise because you’re worried about hurting your joints. Regular exercise strengthens the muscles around your joints, which helps prevent injuries. Exercise also helps you keep the pounds off, which is important because gaining too much weight is terrible for you joints and your cardiovascular health.

The Ugly

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your overall health, and it turns out that it is bad for your joints as well. People who smoke or chew tobacco are much more likely to have joint problems in addition to all the other health concerns that come with smoking. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor and your family for support.

 

To learn more about protecting your joints and living a healthy lifestyle, contact Plancher Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.