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Joint Health: Staying Balanced

Maintaining joint health is vital—from avid outdoorsmen to alpinists to gamers at home, our joints are in constant use. As I type now, my fingers are contracting and extending via joints to access each key. Maintaining joint health is vital in maintaining optimal quality of life. Joint discomfort ranges in severity. Awareness of common causes allows you to foster your own joint health.

Joint discomfort may be indicative of a greater issue, but it is often the result of remedial issues. Unhealthy joints greatly inhibit quality of life day to day. Below, we detail healthy habits that support joint health:

Proper Hydration

Water supports joint lubrication through its involvement with synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is the thick lubrication that surrounds socket to cushion joints, prevent bone-to-bone friction and support smooth, sustained joint movements. Proper hydration supports adequate synovial fluids. Dehydration may consequently result in joint discomfort.

It is generally recommended to consume 64 ounces—eight cups—of water per day. 

Average individuals may also use body weight to determine water intake: ounces of water consumed equates your body weight in kilograms.

Example: if you weigh 70 kilograms, aim to drink 70 ounces of water per day.

If you are struggling to reach your water intake goal, consider implementing the chug method. On average, one second of chugging equates to one ounce of water. If you do a 10-second chug seven times throughout the day, you will likely reach the daily recommended value.

Maintain A Healthy Weight for Joint Health

Weight loss and maintenance often feel daunting. However, maintaining a healthy weight offers your body and joint health longevity. Your hips and knees bear the majority of your weight. Overtime our joints experience standard wear-and-tear as we utilize repetitive joint movements. But increased weight may increase the rate of degeneration—it speeds the wear-and-tear process.

If sustainable weight loss and maintenance seem difficult, start small by simply moving your body in accordance with your individual lifestyle and needs. Consider these healthy modes of movement:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Water Aerobics
  • Strength Training
  • Cycling

Keep in mind—the best exercise is on that is sustainable for YOU!

Bonus Tip: Before you workout, complete a small warm up. Working out cool muscles may increase your likelihood of strains. A simple warm up may resolve this issue. Above all else, listen to your body. It will signal you when you are pushing too hard.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking may exacerbate and contribute to joint discomfort. Smoking nicotine-based product offers momentary pain relief. So habitual smoking may mask joint discomfort and allow individuals to repeat joint-deteriorating patterns. Smoking may also prevent adequate blood flow and nutrient delivery to our joints. Inadequate delivery may result in slowed healing.  Smoking may offer momentary relief but at a cost. Consider other coping mechanisms or systems of pain management.

If you have questions about your smoking habits, or other methods of joint managements, reach out your healthcare provider!

Best Way to Maintain Joint Health

Joint health is wealth! Below are five tips to help maintain healthy joint sockets:

  • Avoid Smoking: smoking increases joint inflammation
  • Hydrate: prevent water loss in joint cartilage
  • Maintain Healthy Weight: being over- and under-weight stresses joints
  • Warm Up: working out cool muscles increases your likelihood of strains
  • LISTEN: your body will signal you when you are pushing too hard

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