Weight Loss

Healthy Joints: Improving Joint Health With Diet And Exercise

Having healthy joints is more important than you may think, especially if you’re at risk of arthritis or age-related wear.

You can’t always avoid joint problems, but achieving healthy joints with diet and exercise can reduce inflammation, pain, and injuries!

If you have joint problems or if you want to avoid inflammation, pain, and tissue deterioration in the future, make sustainable changes, one at a time, to your lifestyle habits.

Doing so optimizes healthy joints.

Consume nutritious foods known to maximize joint health and reduce inflammation but avoid foods that increase the risk of inflammation.

Exercise safely, get plenty of sleep, protect your joints, and allow your body to recover properly after exercise.

Remember to warm up before workouts and stretch afterward.

Check in with your doctor to get screened for arthritis if you’re at risk of developing a joint disease or you experience discomfort, swelling, or stiffness in your joints.

Try the tips below to maintain healthy joints and a pain-free, active lifestyle!

These 10 bodyweight exercises are easy on your joints and require ZERO equipment!

Top Tips For Healthy Joints

Exercise Your Joints

If you desire healthy joints because you struggle with pain and inflammation, you may need to cut back on or avoid high-impact exercises like running and jumping rope.

Workouts that are easier on your joints include rowing, walking, cycling, stair climbing, swimming, and using an elliptical machine.

Use good form when weightlifting and avoid lifting weights that are too heavy to ensure you avoid placing excessive pressure on painful or weakened joints.

Eat Joint-Friendly Foods

Consume joint-friendly foods on a regular basis to enhance healthy joints and reduce the chance of injuries.

Based on the information provided by Harvard Medical School, Penn Medicine, and Cleveland Clinic, joint-healthy foods to consider include:

Cruciferous vegetables and greens, such as broccoli, kale, spinach, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
Fatty fish like tuna and salmon
Olive oil
Green tea

Many of these nutrient-dense foods are packed with inflammation- and disease-fighting antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats — all of which are vital for maintaining exceptional overall health.

In addition to optimizing healthy joints, these foods also enhance your brain health, heart health, and overall wellness.

Maintain an Ideal Body Weight

Being overweight or obese can diminish joint health quickly, placing extra pressure and tension on joints and increasing your risk of joint wear and tear and injuries.

If you carry excess body weight, strive to lose weight by eating joint-friendly foods, working out more, minimizing stress, getting plenty of sleep (at least 7 hours per night), and limiting or avoiding alcohol.

Take Dietary Supplements for Joint Health

Ask your doctor about dietary supplements for healthy joints to see which are best for you.

Based on the information provided by the Arthritis Foundation, the following supplements may improve the health of your joints: fish oil, curcumin, multivitamin supplements containing vitamin D and vitamin K, glucosamine, and S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e), and chondroitin.

At a minimum, be sure to get enough essential minerals, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein in your diet via nutritious foods and supplements when needed.

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Listen to Your Body

If you begin to develop joint pain, listen to your body.

Stop working out or exercise at a lower intensity if you have signs of pain or an injury — such as swelling, joint stiffness, discomfort, or reduced range of motion.

Don’t overdo it during exercise, even if you don’t have a history of joint problems.

Take days off from working out as needed, cross-train to avoid overtraining, and stop doing high-impact exercises if you experience joint swelling or discomfort.

You can usually resume higher-intensity workouts when the pain subsides if your doctor okays it.

Ask Your Doctor About All-Natural Joint Injections

Joint wear and tear are often inevitable with older age, but treatments can reduce the discomfort and your chance of severe or ongoing injuries.

Ask your doctor if stem cells, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), or other holistic injections that regenerate cells within your joints are a good match for you.

PRP is an injection containing platelets sourced from your blood.

The injection uses the platelets to stimulate your body’s natural ability to heal and ease the pain.

Protect Injured Joints

If you have a joint injury or discomfort, it’s vital to protect your joints during physical activity by choosing exercises that don’t overtrain affected joints.

You might wear a brace, athletic tape, or other joint-protecting gear to stabilize painful joints and prevent further problems.

If you experience severe or ongoing joint issues, your doctor often recommends steering clear of exercise, or only doing certain exercises like swimming, walking, or cycling, while an injury heals.

Your doctor gives you an idea about which exercises are the safest for painful or inflamed joints.

Regularly Check In With Your Doctor

Check in with your doctor on a regular basis to maintain exceptional joint health.

They can detect arthritis, inflammation, joint damage, and other joint abnormalities before they turn into troublesome complications.

Arthritis screening consists of blood tests and other methods to evaluate the health of your joints.

Getting treated for arthritis, eating nutritious foods, and regular exercise can delay or stop joint deterioration and discomfort caused by arthritis.

Get Enough Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin you may not be getting enough of with diet alone.

However, vitamin C plays a vital role in optimizing joint health.

Research shows that vitamin C helps prevent arthritis, can reduce unpleasant symptoms of osteoarthritis, reduces the need for pain medicine, and improves quality of life.

Consume foods rich in vitamin C, take a multivitamin supplement containing vitamin C, and consider extra vitamin C supplementation if your doctor advises you to.

Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, other citrus fruits, green and red peppers, orange and grapefruit juices, kiwi fruit, strawberries, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other fresh fruits and veggies.

Limit Foods That Contribute to Inflammation

In addition to consuming joint-friendly foods and drinks, it’s important to minimize your intake of foods that may contribute to obesity, joint inflammation, and the risk of chronic diseases.

Cleveland Clinic suggests reducing or steering clear of the following foods linked to joint pain and inflammation:

Refined grains, such as white rice, regular pasta, and white bread
Fried foods
Added sugars found in sodas, other sugar-sweetened drinks, sweets, sugar-sweetened condiments, and additional foods sweetened with added sugar
High-fat cuts of red meat
Highly processed meats like hot dogs, ham, sausage, regular bacon, and deli meats

Consume whole or minimally processed foods whenever you can to fight inflammation, enhance joint health, and minimize your risk of pain.

Warm Up Before Exercise and Stretch

It’s important to warm up for a least 5 minutes before workouts to reduce the risk of joint problems and other injuries.

Stretching after exercise can also diminish your chance of injuries and discomfort.

Don’t overdo it when you first begin sweat sessions to protect your joint health.

Ease into workouts gradually, and always listen to your body.

Maintain Strong Bones

Exercise often to achieve healthy joints, keep your bones strong, and reduce the risk of fractures and other injuries.

Choose combinations of cardiovascular and strength-training workouts.

Aim to consume three servings of calcium-rich dairy foods, such as milk, plain kefir, Greek yogurt, or calcium-fortified plant-based alternatives like soy milk.

This helps you obtain the vitamin D, calcium, and other bone-strengthening nutrients needed for strong bones.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking can diminish your overall health and the integrity of your joints.

Research shows that smoking increases the chance of joint disease and problems with your tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilage, or entire musculoskeletal system.

If you’re not a smoker, don’t start.

If you currently smoke, try quitting on your own, join a group smoking cessation program, or check with your doctor about medicines or other treatments that make smoking cessation easier.

It often takes multiple tries to quit smoking for good, so don’t give up!

Adopt Safe Lifting Techniques

If you’re lifting weights or other heavy objects, it’s vital to use good form when doing so to reduce your chance of joint damage and other injuries.

Listen to your body to avoid ongoing joint problems.

If the weights you’re lifting are too heavy for you to use in the proper form, choose lighter weights instead.

Wear Comfortable Footwear

Wearing comfortable shoes is one of the best ways to maintain healthy joints, as poor-fitting footwear places unnecessary strain on your feet, ankles, knees, and other joints.

Choosing comfortable shoes also lessens the risk of joint wear and tear, pain, and inflammation.

Pick soft, comfortable shoes that aren’t too tight.

Consider wearing show inserts if your doctor recommends them to improve the position of your feet and your gait.

Erin Coleman
B.S. – Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on healthy joints.

The post Healthy Joints: Improving Joint Health With Diet And Exercise appeared first on The Fit Mother Project – Weight Loss For Busy Moms 40+.

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