One in three adults suffer from some form of chronic joint pain. When possible, changes in lifestyle can help alleviate pain and improve quality of life.
Helpful tips for joint and bone health:
- Lose weight - extra body weight creates strain on our joints, particularly the knee joints. Losing as little as 10 pounds of body weight can help reduce pain.
- Stretch prior to exercising - people who exercise a lot, especially those who work to build muscle, must stretch prior to working out. Bodybuilding and weight lifting related joint pain problems can be caused by tendinitis, an inflammation or irritation of the tendons. This type of joint pain can be reduced or eliminated by stretching and warming up tendons before working them too hard. This makes them more flexible and able to handle the added weight or exercise loads we put on them.
- Warm up - our bodies need to be warmed up in order to work properly and avoid excess injuries. This allows our tendons to flex and become more supple, allows the muscles to loosen up and work better, and gets the blood flowing through our body.
- Change exercises - both avid and occasional exercisers should consider changing the type of exercise we do. Impact style exercising, such as step aerobics or kick boxing, is harder on our joints than exercises such as yoga and water based workouts.
- Don't over exercise - regardless of the type of exercise you do, or how heavy the workout, our bodies need time to repair. Someone who does hours of intense exercising daily will have more problems with chronic joint pain than someone who allows their body to recuperate. Our muscles, tendons and ligaments all need time to rest and repair after a hard workout. That's what causes them to strengthen over time.
- Change positions - sitting or standing all day, day after day, can cause joint pain. We need to vary our routines to give both our bodies and joints variety and rest periods. Getting up and moving around is helpful to break up a routine and keep our bodies in shape.
- Shoe evaluation - proper footwear is important for bone and joint health. Did you know that women who wear high heeled shoes have seven to 10 times greater chance of developing joint pain and problems? It's a good idea to vary the heel height of the shoes we wear. For those who like high heels, heels lower than three inches seem to be best for bone and joint health. It's also important that all shoes, including tennis and athletic shoes, fit properly. Toes need room and there should be good arch support. Some sort of cushion, especially under the ball and heel areas of our feet, is recommended.