5 Habits That Improve Joint Health: Best Practices For Feeling Your Best Physically
As children, we think we can do anything. From climbing trees to running with our friends down a dirt road. Nothing could stop us. Our bodies just simply held up. However, as we get older, we begin to feel the aches and pains. Over the years, our food habits change, our physical health goes more by the wayside, and we put it off due to our busy schedules.
In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states the following information regarding aging and physical health:
- “Older adults can obtain significant health benefits with a moderate amount of physical activity, preferably daily. A moderate amount of activity can be obtained in longer sessions of moderately intense activities (such as walking) or in shorter sessions of more vigorous activities.”
- “Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity, either by increasing the duration, intensity, or frequency. Because risk of injury increases at high levels of physical activity, care should be taken not to engage in excessive amounts of activity.”
- “Previously sedentary older adults who begin physical activity programs should start with short intervals of moderate physical activity (5-10 minutes) and gradually build up to the desired amount.”
- “In addition to cardiorespiratory endurance (aerobic) activity, older adults can benefit from muscle-strengthening activities. Stronger muscles help reduce the risk of falling and improve the ability to perform the routine tasks of daily life.”
Let us look at some practices that you can start today:
- Keep your weight in check – It would certainly be a perfect world if we could survive on sweets, but we know that is not reality. While it has been engrained in us at an early age to eat our vegetables, it is just as important as we age.
As the National Center for Health Statistics reported as of 2018, “42.5% of adults aged 20 and over are considered obese. “Instead of reaching for the ice cream after dinner, try crunching on a few stalks of fresh celery.
To keep it in check, one scoop of plain vanilla ice cream has 137 calories as opposed to only 10 calories for the celery. Prefer some sweetness? Add some no sugar peanut butter. Also try incorporating almond butter for another alternative.
- Keep your body moving – It seems easier to be more sedentary as we age, between working, family, and community, it can all be exhausting. To try and fit in, a walk around the block or an hour at the gym seems undoable. However, by taking this time out for yourself, not only gives you more natural energy but allows your mind to take a mental break, benefiting everyone. If you still want the ice cream, grab your family, and walk to the parlor. You will be pleased with your overall feeling afterwards.
- Stand up straight – As we grow older, our bones no longer can bear the weight and become less agile. We find ourselves slumping more. For many it is due to office jobs throughout their life.
A recent report from wellworksforyou.com claimed, “According to the recent health statistics regarding desk jobs, close to 86% of American employees have jobs that require long periods of sitting…. It may also contribute as a factor of certain medical issues, such as cardiovascular diseases and carpal tunnel syndrome.” Try putting a pillow behind your back when sitting. This naturally makes your spine straighten out. Lastly, do not forget to take breaks every few hours. Stretch your arms, legs, and neck area.
- Re-check your entire diet – Have you always been a meat and potatoes kind of person? You may have noticed that not only do you feel more sluggish the older you get, but your body starts fighting back by gaining weight.
One large review, reported by healthline.com, showed, “1,218,380 participants showed that by consuming red meat daily were more at risk of heart disease and diabetes.” Instead of risking it, try baking up a fresh piece of fish a few times a week. The omega-3 fatty acids that are naturally in fish, for example salmon and mackerel, will minimize the inflammation of your joints along with ingredients, such as onions, olive, and leafy lettuce.
- Get plenty of sleep – We may think we can run on less than six hours a sleep at night, but this is not the case. Over time, our bodies and minds start fighting back. The aches and pains are real and need to rest. Allow yourself breaks and go to bed at the same time each night. Read a book or try a crossword for a late-night break before sleeping.
In conclusion – Remember that your body needs you to take care of it, especially as you age. As English bookseller wrote in the 1600’s, “To ensure good health: eat lightly, breath deeply, love moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.”