By now, we all understand that prolonged inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to our bodies as we get older. Studies have shown that sitting too much can be problematic to our health, particularly our joint health and mobility.
In modern life, we find ourselves sedentary more than ever albeit at a desk, driving, or watching television. To counteract the effects of the inevitable, mobility has become more important than ever.
This means getting enough daily movement such as walking, stretching, or jogging to ensure you’re keeping your muscles and bones healthy. Strong muscles and bones keep our joints healthy and happy which has a greater impact on our overall health than you may realize.
Let’s start with the basics…
A joint is where two or more bones come together. Joints can be rigid like the joints between bones in your skull, or mobile like knees, hips, and shoulders. Generally, joints have cartilage on the ends where they come together. Cartilage not only helps your joints move, but it keeps them from rubbing against each other.
Healthy joints help you do the things you want to do without discomfort. Unfortunately, as we get older, we are more likely to experience discomfort in our joints when we move.
As we age, joints undergo natural wear and tear which can lead to reduced mobility. This happens because the cartilage that cushions our joints generally wears down over time, which causes the bones to rub together.
Additionally, the ligaments and tendons that hold the joints together can become less flexible. While the aging process cannot be stopped, there are certain healthy habits you can incorporate into your daily life to slow down the wear and tear.
Why does mobility matter?
Mobility is an essential part of overall health. Being mobile means having the ability to move freely and independently, which allows us to do daily activities such as walking, standing, and reaching.
Maintaining mobility can help to prevent potential accidents and improve physical and mental health. Poor mobility, on the other hand, can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, which can result in muscle weakness, joint discomfort, and reduced flexibility.
Furthermore, limited mobility can make it difficult to engage in social activities and may lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. By practicing regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking steps to protect your joints, you can support your joint health and enjoy the numerous benefits mobility provides.
5 Things You Can Do To Support Your Joints As You Age
Regular low-impact exercise
By staying active, we can help our joints stay mobile over time. With that said, you don’t need to be spending hours in the gym or pushing yourself through excruciating physical activity. Practicing low-impact exercise such as walking, yoga, biking, or swimming can help our joints stay mobile.
Joint support supplements
While getting proper joint, bone, and muscle supporting nutrients through a healthy diet is important, boosting your intake to further support your joints may make a difference. There are plenty of different supplements that support your joints and the surrounding cartilage such as turmeric, boswellia, collagen, vitamin C, and ashwaghanda.
Gentle range of motion stretching
Studies have shown that gentle stretching every day can increase range of mobility in your joints - even as we age. Specifically focus on range of motion stretches in your hips, shoulders, and knees. If you’re curious about how to perform certain stretches, there’s plenty of information and images online to help you.
Eat antioxidant-rich foods
Food high in antioxidants typically support inflammatory responses in the body which may prevent discomfort. Remember that nutrition plays a key role in all aspects of health, so diet is usually the first habit to change when it comes to improving a certain area of your health i.e. your joints. Stick to lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Try to avoid sugar and saturated fats (processed foods) as much as possible.
Build muscle strength
As previously mentioned, your muscles support your joints, so it is important to keep them strong. You don’t need to be weight lifting heavy amounts to see improvement. Simple and regular strength training exercises can strengthen the muscles enough to protect your joints from being overused.
Maintaining mobility is essential to overall health, especially as we age. Sedentary lifestyles can be detrimental to joint health and mobility, but incorporating daily movement such as walking, stretching, and jogging can help keep muscles and bones health. Joint wear and tear is a natural part of aging, but health habit can slow down the process such as regular low-impact exercise, taking joint supplements, stretching daily, eating a nutritious diet, and building muscle strength.