As you age, taking care of yourself becomes a bit more complicated than it used to be. You have to be more aware of your movements, diet choices, and how your body feels on a daily basis. Over time, your muscles and joints start to atrophy slightly, creating weaker movement and less control than you once had. But, what if we told you there are ways for you to combat these natural reactions, keeping your joints healthy even as you age?
Of course, you cannot completely prevent your joints from weakening, as this is simply what happens as the body ages. However, that doesn’t mean this should stop you from living your life or enjoying your favorite activities! That’s why, today, we’re taking a look at some of the ways you can keep your joints healthy as you get older, helping you stay feeling great even as the birthdays pass.
The relationship between joint health and aging is a somewhat straightforward one: our muscles tend to lose strength, and we have a lower tolerance to exercise and rigorous movement. Usually, this occurs because the actual muscle fibers in your bones begin to shrink or even lower in number, reducing your muscles in size and making it more challenging to have strength.
Through inactivity, we can also see that, as we age, some of our muscle tissue disappears, getting replaced by more rigid tissue that doesn’t allow for as much movement or — you guessed it — strength.
In terms of joints specifically, we actually see the loss of fluid through aging. Usually, your joints contain a certain amount of fluid that makes it easy for you to move without pain or disruption. However, as we get older, we lose some of this liquid, and our joints no longer have that lubrication to operate smoothly. Along with this, the cartilage itself gets smaller and creates more brittle bones that tend to be more susceptible to breaking.
Thus, the older we get, the more difficult it becomes to move appropriately. And, we’re not talking about running a whole marathon, either. If you’re not careful, daily activities like washing your hair or typing on a computer may become stressful on your joints.
But, as we mentioned, there are ways for us to combat these age-related changes. Just because most older people struggle to get around does not mean you have to, too.
Before we talk about the tips and tricks we have for your aging joints, let’s quickly discuss the things you should look out for regarding these age-related changes. If you notice any of these things happening to you, you shouldn’t sweep them under the rug and dismiss them as normal aging. While they are common, these aren’t problems you should have to put up with simply because you’re a senior.
First and foremost, pay attention to your range of motion each day. Once it’s noticeable that daily movement is stiffer than it used to be, you might be observing some signs of aging. Stiff joints and muscles may be normal for a few days, but these problems shouldn’t linger; if they do, it’s time to make some changes to help keep your joints healthy as you age.
Along with your range of movement, keeping an eye on strength levels and even balance can be a good indicator of your joint health. Needless to say, you probably won’t be able to lift the same amount you did in college, but you also shouldn’t be struggling to carry backpacks, bags, or groceries, either. When you notice that these everyday items seem much heavier than before, you know that your joints likely require some support.
It is ideal if you don’t wait for these signs to show up before making healthy changes to your lifestyle. For the best results possible, you want to start making these switches now, before you even have to notice your joints getting stiffer.
So, how is it possible to keep your joints healthy as you age? How can you prevent this stiff movement and lack of strength?
Thankfully, keeping your joints strong as you get older isn’t as difficult as you may imagine. Through simple lifestyle changes and attentiveness, you should be able to combat this muscle atrophy, leaving you feeling great well into your senior days. After all, no one says that getting older means losing your sense of freedom.
There are myriad ways you can stay on top of your health and ensure that your joints remain strong throughout the years. But, here, we’ve listed the five most essential tips that we can give people like you to help your strong joints persist. These options are all-natural and don’t require any complicated treatments or long days in the doctor’s office. Instead, you can make these changes right from home, each and every day.
One of the best and most obvious ways of keeping your joints healthy over time is by watching your weight. The heavier you are, the more pounds of weight your joints have to support. If you have more weight than your joints can handle, movement becomes nearly impossible, and your muscles can start atrophying at alarming rates. This will make it super tough for you to exercise the way your body needs, leaving you stagnant and uncomfortable.
Thankfully, if you can learn to watch your weight, regulate what you eat, and incorporate a bit of daily movement, you shouldn’t experience this problem. When you’re at a healthy weight, your body doesn’t have any issue supporting itself, and you’re able to move the way you want to.
Even if you’ve already gained some weight and notice the adverse effects, that’s okay! You can still lose some of that weight and regain your joints’ functionality. You just have to be motivated and driven to do it! Make sure you start with simple, easy-going exercises or movements that aren’t going to strain your already hurting body. Then, make sure to combine this with a well-balanced diet that provides you with the nutrients you need.
While exercising is a great way to lose weight, eating well is also key in doing so. When you have both a healthy diet and an effective exercise routine (no matter how beginner or advanced it may be), you’re giving your body the perfect recipe to slim down and let your joints breathe a bit. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself moving in ways you hadn’t been able to in quite some time.
Ever since you were a little kid, you’ve been told that calcium is great for strong bones. And that’s 100% right! But, just because you got your dose of milk as a child doesn’t mean your body no longer requires this kind of support. On the contrary, as you age, you should start consuming healthy amounts of calcium once again. Why? For your bone and joint health, of course!
When we age, our bones become more susceptible to age-related conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis. These conditions are both uncomfortable and hindrances to our daily lives, throwing our routines off significantly. However, when we add more calcium into our diets, you’re giving your bones the added support they’ve been lacking.
Vitamin D, too, is a vital component in our joint health. This vitamin works to provide nutrients to the body, even helping to absorb calcium easier. Together, vitamin D and calcium function to nourish muscles and joints, helping to regain a little bit of strength back in the areas you need most.
Vitamins and supplements are great ways to consume these nutrients on a daily basis. Along with supplements, going outside for some all-natural vitamin D is lovely for both your mind and body. And, don’t worry: if you’re not into drinking glasses of milk anymore, that’s fine! You can get your regular source of calcium from products like dark, leafy greens, yogurt, and cheese.
Even though it may get more challenging as we get older, getting some movement in our bones is absolutely crucial in keeping your joints happy and healthy. Inactivity is one of the main reasons why the elderly tend to have such brittle bones: they stop using them, and the muscle tissue simply goes away. Without this added support, we’re left in pain and struggling to function as we used to.
Movement, then, is the best way to prevent this. You don’t have to be running five miles a day, either! Just simple, gentle bouts of movement each day can help prevent this muscle atrophy, allowing you to stay feeling strong and in control. Go out for a stroll in your neighborhood, walk to the mailbox, or take extra time around the grocery store while shopping. Though simple, all of these activities can do wonders for your stagnant joints.
We mentioned this above, but we have to stress that you shouldn’t push yourself too hard when getting daily movement. Only do what your body can handle and listen to how it reacts. If you find yourself being in more pain than anything, it’s time to switch up your routine and find something that works for you. Simply put, even gentle movement is terrific for your mind, body, muscles, and joints.
If you want to prevent your joints from getting stiff and weak as you age, quit smoking! Smoking cigarettes negatively affects practically all aspects of your health, including your bones. Bone density loss is one of the biggest reasons you may find yourself hurting while you get older — your bones are so much more fragile than they used to be. And substances like cigarettes — and even alcohol over-consumption — can play a massive part in this.
We know that it’s sometimes easier said than done, but quitting smoking is vital in regaining your health and wellness as you age. When you stop smoking, this allows your body a chance to heal itself, re-regulating the systems that the toxins in cigarettes threw off in the first place.
Drinking alcohol every once in a while isn’t going to do significant damage to your muscles and joints, but overconsumption definitely can. When you consume more alcohol than your body can handle, you’re placing yourself at higher risk for bone density loss — the same result as if you were smoking cigarettes. Make sure you go to the effort of only enjoying alcohol in moderation if you’re worried about your joint health.
Last but not least, don’t forget about drinking water. It may sound silly, but water’s role in keeping your joints and muscles functioning healthily is a large one. Not to mention, water is beneficial to all other components of your body, as well.
As you age, try cutting out as many sugary drinks as possible and replacing them with water. Lattes, sports drinks, even certain teas may have more sugar than you realize, damaging your health the more you indulge. Small amounts of these drinks are just fine, but you don’t want to be consuming them more frequently than you have a glass of water.
When you incorporate more water into your diet, alongside exercise and a more balanced diet, your body will likely respond beautifully. Consuming healthy amounts of water provides your joints with the lubrication they need to move flawlessly and give you the range of motion you need. The more dehydrated your body becomes, the more it will start to pull fluid from other places to help lubricate the joints. However, doing this is not suitable for your body, as this water typically comes from your cartridge — a place that requires water just as much as your joints.
So, as you hydrate your body, you can think of the water as hydrating your joints, too. When you provide your body with adequate moisture, it will show its appreciation through better movement, comfortability, and muscle strength.
No matter how old you are, maintaining your joint health is crucial in helping you feel your best every single day. As you age, you may find that this seems to be tougher than it used to be; however, this doesn’t have to be the case at all. Through simple lifestyle changes and a little more self-care, keeping your joints healthy is as easy as keeping your mind happy.
Drink some water, take a stroll, soak in that vitamin D, and put down that cigarette. Regardless of your age, making these changes in your life may be the switch you need to finally feel your best. Although, we must stress that if you are experiencing chronic pain and muscle loss, make sure you always consult with your doctor before making any major decisions in your life. You want to make sure this muscle loss isn’t a symptom of something bigger that should be treated differently. However, once you get the okay from your physician to start this new healthy chapter in your life, you should be good to go to begin building up those joints again — even if it’s just a little.