Arthritis is a common condition that causes a person’s joints to become stiff, painful, and swollen. While arthritis affects people of all ages, many people develop arthritis as they age and the inflammation can greatly affect your quality of life.
Arthritis most often affects the joints in the fingers, knees, and hips, and although there is no cure, there are ways to prevent arthritis and reduce the severity of the symptoms so you can continue enjoying your life and the activities you love.
Fish, especially salmon and tuna, contain omega-3 fatty acids that have many benefits for your health, including reducing inflammation. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is important for everyone, and those suffering from arthritis may find that incorporating salmon or some other fish into their diets twice a week helps ease inflammation in their joints.
If you’re a vegetarian or don’t like fish, there are other healthy foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and various plant oils are all rich in omega-3s, or you may opt for omega-3 capsules made from fish oil or algae oil that you take once a day.
Control your weight
Your joints, particularly your knees and your ankles, will incur a lot of wear and tear over the course of your life. The heavier you are the more stress your joints will be under, and for those who develop arthritis this can make it difficult to be mobile. There is no singular weight range that is considered “healthy”, so we recommend you speak with your doctor about what’s healthy for you, and follow their advice on maintaining your weight.
Exercise has a huge range of benefits, including strengthening the muscles around your joints, making them stronger and more mobile. Staying active is critical as we age, but the thought of vigorous exercise can be intimidating. The good news is that there are many low-impact activities you can do to keep your joints healthy, like brisk walks, swimming, and water aerobics classes. Check out what senior exercise classes your local gym offers, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Protect your joints
There are certain movements we do often that can cause damage to our joints after years of repetition. Things like climbing stairs, lifting heavy items up off the ground, and squatting down low can make your joints deteriorate faster, and these movements can become very painful if you have arthritis.
Wearing knee sleeves, wrist braces, and other support braces help protect your joints while allowing you to continue moving as usual. When lifting heavy items up off the ground, remember to keep your back straight and lift with your knees to reduce strain on your lower back.
Avoiding injuries is easier said than done because no one sets out to incur an injury, but the older we get the longer it takes to recover from injuries, so being cautious is important. Always stretch and warm up before any physical activity, especially if you’re trying something new, and don’t take any risks if you don’t feel comfortable.
As mentioned above, knee sleeves, wrist braces, and other supportive braces can help protect your joints, but speak with your doctor to ensure you’re wearing the best supportive garment for your specific circumstances. A large part of avoiding injuries is recognizing that as we age we simply won’t be able to do many of the things that we did when we were younger, and learning how to adapt and change to best suit our bodies.
Original blog posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/guide-to-preventing-arthritis/