Caring for Stiff Joints as You Age
By Sara Butler
As you get older, you may notice your joints become stiffer. Something as simple as getting out of bed in the morning can become more and more challenging. This is due to the fact that the spongy material in your joints that helps to cushion bone, called cartilage, starts to stiffen and dry out. Your body doesn’t make as much of the lubricating fluid that helps oils your joints so they can move smoothly, which only adds to feelings of stiffness. Even though you may not move like you used to, there are still things you can do to help keep your joints loose -- which will also make getting out of a bed each morning a lot easier.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
As you get older, it can become more challenging to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, but it’s incredibly important to keep your joints healthy and free from pain.
Excess body weight can put a lot of stress and strain on joints, especially the major joints in your legs such as your knees. But watching your weight is about more than the number on a scale, it’s also about working to avoid carrying heavy loads. Don’t load up all 26 grocery bags in your arms for one trip from the car to your kitchen, get help if you’re carrying something heavy, and talk to your chiropractor about the proper way to lift and bend to help maintain joint health.
Move Your Body
When you’re feeling stiff, the last thing you probably want to do is move around -- but that’s exactly what should happen. Remember, your joints were made to be used and to move around. If you have arthritis and pain in your joints, then choose an exercise that is low-impact such as swimming, biking, or walking. Participate in activities that help to safeguard your aging ligaments and tendons, too. Don’t choose sports that require sudden stops or pivots, such as basketball. This can cause injuries that lead to further damage.
When you begin a new activity, make sure to start at a level that matches your fitness. This will help reduce injury. Starting something new at a pace that is too fast can put more stress on joints. Listen to your body and know when it’s time to stop and take a break.
Your joints need special treatment to stay healthy as you get older. Make sure to talk to the chiropractor at The Joint if you have questions or concerns!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wichita, Kans.