As we age, our joints (the places where our bones meet) deteriorate. It's often a combination of overuse, excess weight, earlier injuries and a loss of muscle mass that's responsible, but it's perfectly natural for the cartilage of joints to thin and wear down as we grow older. In order to ensure healthy joints, there are a few steps that you and your loved one should be taking.
1. Avoid being overweight. Ensuring that your relative maintains a healthy weight can reduce a lot of the burden on his or her joints. Knees, hips and backs are responsible for carrying the majority of a person's body weight, so these are often the first areas to experience pain in overweight people. Losing weight reduces the pressure.
2. Vary exercise techniques. Doing the same repetitive motions over and over can cause joints to wear down in the same areas, which is why it's important to choose a variety of physical activities. Make sure your loved one is engaged in low-impact routines like walking or swimming, as well as strength training and stretching exercises.
3. Encourage good posture. Standing and sitting up straight can help joints avoid excess pressure – from the neck to the knees. Kindly point out when your loved one is slouching, and offer to provide extra back or seat cushions to make sitting up straight more comfortable.
4. Eat plenty of omega-3s. Studies have shown that getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from foods like oily fish, nuts and seeds can reduce painful inflammation in joints and make it more comfortable for your relative to move.
5. Get vitamin D. Vitamin D can also help protect joints from deterioration, so make sure that your loved one is getting the recommended daily amount of about 400 to 800 units each day. Low-fat dairy products are often good sources.
6. Consider a supplement. Nutritional supplements that are formulated to provide the body with important building blocks to prevent joint deterioration and pain can be helpful. Talk with your loved one's doctor beforehand to make sure it's okay.
7. Invest in a medical alarm device from Bay Alarm. If your loved one ever experiences a fall or injury, he or she can use the medical alert to contact emergency personnel immediately. This can offer peace of mind and prevent serious joint issues caused by falls.