7 ways to keep joints healthy, strong and lubricated

To maintain mobility and support to your body, you need to make sure your joints are healthy. Here are some ways to keep joints healthy.
A woman exercising for healthy joints
Joint health is crucial for smooth movement and more. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 24 Jun 2024, 08:00 pm IST
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In the anatomy world, a joint is the part of our body where two or more bones meet. Taking care of joints is crucial for maintaining mobility and overall quality of life. Healthy joints let you move smoothly, easing daily activities such as walking, lifting, writing or typing. Apart from mobility, proper joint care is also needed to help prevent joint-related disorders such as arthritis, which can cause a lot of pain, and stiffness. You also need healthy joints to support physical activity, which is essential for overall well-being, including cardiovascular health, weight management, and mental health. So, let us tell you how to keep joints healthy.

What are joints?

Joints are the structures that connect two or more bones in our body, allowing for movement and providing mechanical support. They can be classified based on their structure (fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial) or their function (immovable, slightly movable, and freely movable), explains joint replacement surgeon Dr B.S. Murthy. One of the most common types is the synovial joint, which includes the knee, hip, and shoulder joints. Synovial joints are characterised by the presence of a fluid-filled cavity that lubricates the joint, reducing friction and allowing for smooth movement.

Woman with joint pain
You can have arthritis if joints are weak. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What can happen if joints are not healthy?

If joints are not healthy, several adverse conditions can develop. Arthritis is one of them. This is the inflammation of joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and swelling. The most common types are osteoarthritis (caused by wear and tear) and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disorder), says the expert. Around 528 million people in the world were found to be living with osteoarthritis in 2019, according to the World Health Organization.

Other problems connected to weak joints are:

  • Weak joints can become painful and stiff
  • Joint issues can restrict range of motion, making it difficult to perform routine tasks
  • Chronic joint conditions can lead to deformities, significantly impacting one’s ability to move and function
  • Poor joint health can lead to reduced use of the affected limb, causing muscle weakness and atrophy.

How to keep joints healthy and strong with age?

Here are seven effective ways to maintain joint health:

1. Maintain a healthy weight

Carrying extra body weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and back. This can accelerate the wear and tear of these joints, leading to conditions like osteoarthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces this stress, helps prevent joint damage, and alleviates pain in already affected joints, says Dr Murthy.

2. Stay physically active

Regular physical activity strengthens the muscles surrounding the joints, providing better support and stability. Low-impact exercises like walking, and cycling are particularly beneficial for joint health, as they improve flexibility and reduce stiffness without causing excessive stress on the joints. If you want to push yourself a little bit more, do strength training. It can help by building muscle mass, which supports and protects the joints.

Woman walking for healthy joints
Walk regularly for healthy joints. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Use proper posture

Maintaining good posture while sitting, standing, or lifting heavy objects is essential to reduce unnecessary stress on the joints. Proper alignment of the spine and joints prevents strain and wear over time. Do mindful movement and yoga to improve posture.

4. Eat anti-inflammatory foods

A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce joint pain and inflammation, says the expert. Essential nutrients for joint health include –

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in fatty fish, flax seeds, and walnuts.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D, the nutrients crucial for bone health, are available in dairy products, and leafy greens.
  • Vitamins C and E, found in fruits and vegetables, protect the joints from oxidative stress.

5. Avoid injuries

Protecting joints from injuries helps prevent conditions like osteoarthritis and chronic pain. This can be achieved by –

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  • Using proper techniques while engaging in sports or physical activities reduces the risk of joint injuries. So, do exercises only after knowing the steps.
  • Wearing appropriate gear such as knee pads, wrist guards, and footwear to help safeguard joints during high-risk activities.
  • Gradually increasing intensity of a new exercise regimen.

6. Stay hydrated

Adequate hydration is essential for maintaining the health of the cartilage that cushions the joints. Cartilage is composed mainly of water, and staying well-hydrated ensures that it remains supple and effective at absorbing shock and reducing friction during movement.

7. Manage stress

Chronic stress can lead to muscle tension, which puts additional strain on the joints, says the expert. Stress management techniques such as meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce this tension and promote overall joint health.

Joints play a significant role in your movement. So, maintain joint health by eating well and staying physically active.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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