A wise man once said that old age is the crown of life, the last act in the play of life. This stage brings with itself the return of innocence, wisdom, memories, and of course, grandchildren. But it also brings with itself some unfavourable health impairments, the most prominent being creaky, achy joints. It is often assumed that these pains are a normal part of aging, and one has to learn to live with it.
But the truth is far from that. Pain in your knees, hands, hips or ankles is not inevitable with age. You can maintain your joint health in such a way that you can enter your retirement phase without having to deal with any aches.
Here are 7 tips to take care of your joints—protect them from complications—as you move towards old age:
Stay away from smoking
It is a well-known fact that smoking causes heart problems and cancer. But did you know that smoking can also wreak havoc on your joints as well? Studies say that smoking increases pain sensitivity and smokers complain more about pain in their legs, arms, back and neck. Need more reasons to quit? Smoking also increases the chances of cartilage loss, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
Drop that cola
Cartilage is a strong tissue that covers and protects your bones. It is made up of 80% of water and if you’re not hydrated enough, to recover the loss, your body pulls water from your cartilage. This, in turn, can damage your joints. If you want to manage your joint health, better drop your habit of drinking carbonated beverages and drink more water. Your joints will be better hydrated this way. Moreover, research stays that women who drink a lot of soda are more susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis.
Keep a watch over your weight
Your joints can support a certain amount of weight. If you are underweight, it means you don’t have the muscle mass to keep your joints stable whereas being overweight means your forcing burden on your knees. Having an optimum weight decreases the pressure on your knees and reduces the inflammation in the body. If you have weight issues, you should consult an expert who can help you with a healthy diet and an exercise plan.
What you eat can affect your joints and bones. Thus, an anti-inflammatory diet can keep arthritis at bay and can help improve your overall joint health. An anti-inflammatory diet consists of foods that decrease inflammation that generally happens due to arthritis in old age. Salmon, mackerel, tuna fish, red peppers, richly-coloured fruits, turmeric, garlic, ginger, walnuts, etc. help in lessening the inflammation in the body.
Stock up vitamin D and calcium
It is a well-known fact that calcium and vitamin D is important for healthy bones. Low levels of these nutrients can weaken your bones and decrease their density. Your bones are made of calcium whereas vitamin D helps your body to absorb that calcium. Try to get more of these nutrients in your diet and remember that exposure to the sun every day for at least 20 minutes is indispensable. Consult a dietitian to know more about foods that contain calcium and vitamin D.
Regular physical activity will not only keep your weight in check but also prevent stiffness and swelling in your joints. However, opt for exercises that put minimal stress on your joints, and are gentler. The Arthritis Foundation, Georgia, suggests that for a good joint health, you should go for low-impact exercises that are easy on your joints such as walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, and pilates. Though don’t forget to talk to your doctor before embarking on any new fitness regime.
Wear the right shoes
Good shoes take you places. As you get older, the shape of your feet may change. Weight gain, loss of fat, and osteoarthritis can cause severe foot pain. You don’t want to travel places wearing the wrong footwear, do you? So better be safe than sorry. Invest in shoes that are comfortable as well as supportive. If possible, get your shoes custom-made by an experienced shoemaker. Always wear the right shoes according to your age.