As we grow older, our joints become weaker and more brittle. This is due to a decreased production of the fluids that lubricate our joints and the breaking down of the cartilage, which protects the bones. As such, you’ll find that over time, your joints will become more rigid and less flexible, preventing your body from moving in a wide range of motion. Even though there is no medication or tried-and-tested way to improve our joints, there are methods to ensure that our joints stay healthy and robust as long as possible, so that we do not experience pain and discomfort in the future. If you want to know how to maintain joint health in your 50s, continue reading.
Work Towards a Healthy Weight
Being overweight puts a large amount of unnecessary stress and pressure on the joints, making them weaker much quicker. In fact, studies have shown that just being 10 pounds overweight can already add 30 to 40 pounds of force onto our knees, hips, and spine. What’s more, being overweight can increase the likelihood of osteoarthritis, a condition that breaks down the protective cartilage in our joints. Other adverse effects include inflammation, which can increase the risk of arthritis. As such, it’s essential to work towards or maintain a healthy weight in order for the joints to be stress-free.
Do Low-Impact Exercises Instead
If you feel that you aren’t physically capable or strong, we recommend skipping high-impact exercises, such as running and lifting weights. Instead, turn to low-impact alternatives like swimming, water aerobics, yoga, and walking. These activities do not put much stress on your joints and allow you to have a greater range of motion without requiring you to exert too much energy. However, this does not mean that you’re not receiving a good workout. Contrary to popular belief, low-impact exercises are also effective in increasing your heart rate and getting your body to work up a sweat.
Always Warm Up
Ever wondered why both fitness and medical professionals have stressed the importance of warming up before an exercise for many years? Well, it’s so that we do not put our joints at harm. If we do not properly warm up, we’re causing our joints, which are initially cold and stiff, to be at a greater risk of being strained. Therefore, if you’re planning to work out or perform any physical activity, take around 10 to 15 minutes beforehand to stretch out your muscles and warm up the joints. For those with arthritis and heart conditions, you may require a little more time to get those muscles and joints ready. A good warm up can be light cardio like walking and jumping rope.
Load Up on Calcium
Decreased absorption of calcium in our bodies is a natural part of aging. This is why many older adults find themselves having weaker bones and at a higher risk of developing chronic bone diseases than in their younger years. As the body lacks calcium, the bones will become more brittle and prone to fractures. Therefore, you should look toward adding more calcium to your diet. Whether it’s consuming calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, and salmon or taking calcium supplements, these methods help you to increase bone strength over time.