An Important Connection
From birth, joints form an integral part of life, connecting the body parts together. Joints are not just a hinge. Cartilage, fluid, ligaments, and bone make up the joint. The components work in tandem to do the body’s bidding. Although there are three types of joints, the body uses synovial joints the most. Synovial joints consist of the knee, hip, elbow, shoulder, and finger joints.
The main function of body joints
Body joints, particularly the synovial joints, facilitate movement. Joints can move an impressive 180 degrees. Fibrous joints and cartilaginous joints extend, shift and flex in different ways. Joints allow the load bearing, lifting, bending important in hundreds of daily activities.
A double-jointed person does not have an extra joint. The ligaments are longer than average, affording an extra range of motion
Does under-use affect joint health?
If parked for a long time, a car’s mechanical joints in the engine and axle rust and seize up. Body joints are the same. Joints need movement! Lack of exercise and sedentary work causes inflammation and diseases like arthritis. So if the joints are not responding as expected, underuse may be a factor.
The proven ways to jumpstart joint function
Simple lifestyle changes boost joint function. A common remedy is weight training. Muscles act as shock absorbers for joints. The stronger the muscle, the greater the chances of reduced inflammation, bone loss, and disease. Weight training as little as 2-3 times weekly creates a huge improvement in joint function.
Keep the impact low
Can low impact exercises help? Joints get the benefits of exercise without the long-term damage. Swimming, aqua-aerobics, yoga, and elliptical machines are great examples of low impact, joint-friendly exercise. A right mix of weight training and low impact exercise keep joints healthier, for longer.
Embrace the hot and cold
Athletes use an ice bath after a game to help heal battered joints. So an ice pack on joints for 15 to 20 minutes has the same effect as an ice bath. Heat also helps with joint function. The heat from a sauna or hot bath soothe joints and increase blood circulation.
Diet affects joint health too
Avocados, nuts, and fish contain the omega-3 fatty acids needed for sustained joint health. Antioxidant-rich foods like berries also help good joint health. On the flip side, excess fried foods, processed foods, and sugar hurt joint function. Integrate the good foods and avoid processed meals to boost joint health and wellbeing.
Start boosting joint health today
Are joints really the problem or poor joint care? Yes, with age, joints naturally decline. However, poor joint care accelerates the process and causes diseases like osteoarthritis. If reduced joint function persists, visit a doctor or specialist for lifestyle suggestions and medical help.