A joint or an articulation is a space where two bones meet or connect. There are more than 300 joints in human body. Joints can be either fixed joints as we see in cranium, movable or synovial joints which allow free movement such as we do while we bend our knees or elbows, or bend our back or move our fingers while typing etc. Besides the bones, joints are made up of cartilage tissue, synovium and a lubricating fluid called synovial fluid.
All this three elements allow good flexibility and movement of joint and prevent bone friction.They act as cushion. Healthy muscles and ligaments around the joint support and give stability to the joint. With age, injury, excess of weight and certain diseases the joint cartilage can get damaged. This may lead to inflammation, irritation, pain and swelling of the joint generally termed as arthritis.
To maintain healthy joints, you have to keep your bones, muscles and ligaments strong and in good shape. Below are given some of the ways to keep your joints healthy.
How To Keep Your Joints Healthy?
- Maintain healthy weight: If you keep your weight within the required range, you put less pressure and strain on your weight bearing joints such as knee joint, hip joint, and on the back. There will be less wear and tear of these joints in a thin person as compared to an obese person. For this reason osteoarthritis in thin person is far less than his counterpart who is obese. With every pound of weight gain, research suggests 4 times increase of pressure on the knee and hip joints.
- Exercise: low impact exercise such as swimming, cycling, are beneficial for joints as well as for losing weight. Exercising also keeps your muscles and ligaments strong. Besides, demineralization of bones is also prevented. Even if you are not exercising, avoid sitting for a long time in one place. Sitting in one place will stiffen your joints and movements will become difficult. If you are working on a computer or your job is to sit and do the work, take and break in between and do some stretching.
- Strengthen muscle and ligament: if your muscles and ligaments which support and keep the joint stable are strong there is less chances of injury to the joint, especially the knee, your back and hip joints. Weight training exercises are useful to keep your muscles strong and fit. However, before starting these exercises such as lifting weight and other gym exercises, consider the fitness of your joint and talk to your doctor regarding it.
- Strong back and abdomen muscles: if your back and abdomen muscles are strong, it helps to keep the body in balance and you are less likely to fall and damage your joints. When you exercise, include those exercises that make your back and abdomen muscles strong.
- Good posture: having good sitting and standing posture helps in preventing damage to the joints. Proper posture is also necessary when you are carrying or lifting weight or while bending. Avoid sudden jerks and make use of strong muscles. If you want to lift something from the floor, than bend at the knee instead of bending your back.
Lastly, do not overdo any strenuous work that can cause damage to your joints.
Foods To Eat For Healthy Bones And Joints
If you want to prevent osteoarthritis of the joints at an early age, bringing change in diet can be an effective means.
- Glucosamine: it is a compound that is found in the body which helps in repairing the damaged cartilage. As you grow old, less amount of glucosamine is produced in the body. You can get naturally from the outer source. Eat shrimp shell, crabs, lobster and almonds they contain glucosamine in good quantity.
- Mineral Manganese is useful in building good cartilage in the joint. Eat food rich in manganese such as seafood, cereals, green leafy vegetables, milk, etc.
- Calcium: for healthy bones calcium is necessary. Dairy products are rich source of calcium. Consume milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: it helps to reduce inflammatory process in a swollen and inflamed joint. All fishes are rich in omega 3 fatty acid. Flax seeds, eggs, walnut are also good source of omega 3.