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How to Keep Joints Healthy as You Age

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An elderly man sitting on a couch, holding his knee as he experiences severe joint pain.

One of the joys of joining an independent senior community is the amenities many communities offer, such as fitness rooms or dance classes. Being able to participate in these things as a senior is a great reason to care for your body as you age.

Taking care of our joints is something that can be easy to overlook. Simple things like staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, paying attention to our diet and hydration, and not smoking are all great ways to improve joint health. 

During the quest for good joint health, it’s important to keep exercises and activities within safe limits, so more problems aren’t caused than solved. Including your physician in the decision for increased activity becomes more important as you age.

Maintaining Healthy Joints

There isn’t a one-size answer for improving most aspects of our health, and our joints are no exception. The other thing about maintaining healthy joints is that no magic formula guarantees 100% health and comfort. Instead, these tips are things you can implement as lifestyle tips for healthier joints. 

A group of seniors exercising in a senior living facility.

Stay Active

Staying active is timeless fitness advice that forms a foundation for things like maintaining a healthy weight or eating a healthy diet. For seniors in particular, the CDC recommends they get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity workouts weekly or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity workouts.

Walking, hiking, or jogging are all great forms of physical activity. When focusing on joint health, doing low-impact activities, such as walking or Tai Chi, is good. Strength training with weights may be an option for some older adults.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

In some situations, joint pain while walking or climbing stairs could be from being overweight. Additionally, if a senior is overweight, they’re at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. Part of maintaining a healthy weight is staying active. But it’s also about watching what you eat—minimizing processed foods and sugars and including fresh fruits and vegetables.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

An anti-inflammatory diet or including extra anti-inflammatory foods in your diet may be needed in some cases to help prevent aching joints as a senior gets older. One doesn’t always need to adhere to a complex diet to reap the benefits. Sometimes simply avoiding certain inflammatory foods, such as refined carbs like bread or pasta, red meat, or soda, can give your body the boost it needs.

Quit Smoking

Most people are well aware of the health benefits they could attain by quitting smoking. But did you know that senior smokers are up to 40% more likely to develop osteoporosis, which is a weakness in the bones that can lead to fractures? Additionally, smoking puts seniors at a higher risk for muscular and joint injuries and problems.

Stay Hydrated

We know hydration is important. We drink water to help regulate temperature, facilitate proper organ function, and to provide a delivery system for nutrients in our body. Staying hydrated also promotes lubrication in your joints, keeping them healthier for longer.

What Affects Our Joints?

Arthritis is a major cause of joint pain or problems. But there isn’t just one type of arthritis.

Time significantly contributes to our joints wearing out and causing discomfort. But osteoarthritis is another major cause of joint pain, especially in older adults. This arthritis is caused by the surface cartilage breaking down, which allows the bones to rub together.

Rheumatoid arthritis is another condition that can affect the joints. A major difference with osteoarthritis is that rheumatoid arthritis not connected to age because it’s an autoimmune condition. Your immune system begins attacking the cartilage in your joints as if it wasn’t supposed to be there. This causes the symptoms of arthritis, such as pain or swelling in a joint.

A third form of arthritis that could cause significant discomfort or lack of mobility is gout. It often affects the big toe and is a buildup of uric acid in the joint. Gout can be an extremely debilitating condition, but fortunately, there are treatments available.

Find Out How Lifespark Communities Can Support You

Finding a community that can support the lifestyle you want to live when you retire is important. For example, if you’ve cared for your body your entire life, it’s essential to join a community with staff who will support that active lifestyle.

If you’re considering retirement in Winona, contact our team today. The helpful staff can answer all your questions. And we can also book you a community tour, so you can see the support systems you’ll enjoy.

Written by Lifespark

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