Are your joints as strong as they could be? Joint weakness can lead to a variety of problems ranging from injuries to pain to stiffness. Making a few changes in your life, in addition to visiting the chiropractor on a regular basis, will help you keep your joints strong and flexible.
The Consequences of Weak Joints
Falls, arthritis, wear and tear, poor muscle tone, and even posture issues can cause weak joints. Unfortunately, once a joint is weak, you’re more likely to develop injuries, including dislocations, fractures, strained muscles, and sprains. Weak joints may also affect your balance and increase your risk of falls. Fortunately, improving your joint health can be as simple as exercising more often, changing your diet, or losing weight.
1. Make Exercise a Priority
Exercise keeps joints limber, improves blood flow, and strengthens the muscles that support your joints. When your muscles are strong, you’re less likely to injure yourself or suffer from joint pain. Your exercise routine should include:
- Aerobic Exercise. Aerobic exercise is any type of exercise that increases your heart rate, including running, walking, dancing, aerobics, skiing, swimming, riding a bike, or playing sports. This type of exercise keeps your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints strong and flexible and lowers your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. If you have arthritis or another joint condition, high-impact activity, like running, tennis, or high-impact aerobics, could worsen your symptoms. Walking, swimming, riding a stationary bicycle, or performing low-impact aerobics are better choices.
- Strengthening Exercises. Strengthening exercises improve balance, flexibility, coordination, and bone strength and density, in addition to increasing and strengthening muscle mass. Exercises can be performed using weights, resistance bands, or weight machines. Push-ups, lunges, squats, planks, and other types of resistance exercises also strengthen bones and muscles.
- Stretching. Start and end every exercise session with a 5 to 10-minute stretching session. Stretching increases blood flow to muscles and tissues, improves flexibility, and keeps your muscles loose after you finish your workout.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults participate in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, in addition to at least two weekly sessions of strengthening exercises that work all the major muscle groups.
2. Improve Your Diet
Avoid processed, greasy, fried, fatty, sugary, or high-carbohydrate foods. A diet that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, low-fat dairy products, chicken, fish, and lean meats is ideal for joint and muscle health.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying extra pounds stresses your joints, increasing your risk of injuries, osteoarthritis, and joint pain. Being obese or overweight is particularly hard on the joints in your knees. Losing weight can reduce the need for knee replacement surgery in obese patients with knee osteoarthritis by 31 percent, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
4. See Your Chiropractor
Regular visits to the chiropractor help keep your joints flexible and improve your range of motion. Subluxations, misalignments in your spine or other parts of your body, increase your risk of joint injuries and pain. These misalignments can be caused by falls, injuries, poor posture, gait problems, and even spending too much time using your digital devices. Luckily, your chiropractor can correct subluxations with adjustments and other treatments that realign your joints and reduce tension on your muscles, tendons, soft tissues, and ligaments. Treatments also address imbalances that could increase your risk of joint injuries.
Scheduling periodic visits with the chiropractic is a simple way to protect your joints. Give us a call if you’re ready to make your next appointment.
PubMed: American College of Rheumatology: Obesity and the Relative Risk of Knee Replacement Surgery in Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis 4/16
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition
WebMD: Chiropractic Care for Joint Problems: What to Know, 10/1/20
Cleveland Clinic: 5 Best Ways to Safeguard Your Joints as You Age, 7/13/20