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10 Things To Remember If You Have Joint Problems

10 Things To Remember If You Have Joint Problems

Creaky knees and aching backs often come much earlier than we would like to admit. You may notice that you limp a bit after a competitive basketball game, or you may see swelling around your ankles after spending more time on your feet than normal.

These little warning signs are easy to dismiss.

Unfortunately, ignoring joint pain can mean big problems in the future. However, just a bit of prevention can mean you will keep your original joints long into your golden years. Whether you’re 28 or 82, here are 10 tips to keep your joints healthy and protected.

1. Surrender to Leg Day

To help ease joint pain, especially around the knees, build up your hamstrings and quadriceps. You can achieve this by working out the lower body by doing squats or leg curls. When you have stronger surrounding muscles, they can help support your joints and take the burden off of your knees.

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    2. Get Your Calcium

    You’ve heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” Think about what you drink as well. Instead of reaching for a soda that is filled with empty calories, opt for a drink that is high in calcium.

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    Smoothies, milk, protein shakes and even calcium-fortified orange juice are all beneficial in making sure you get your daily dose of calcium.

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      3. Go Against Gravity

      Just like our muscles, bone is living tissue that gets strong with exercise. Studies show that men and women who exercise regularly generally achieve greater peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) than those who do not. The best exercise to build up bone? Focus on weight-bearing exercises like weight training or resistance-type moves using your own body weight.

      Also, don’t let that desk job be a deterrent to getting into shape and helping your bones stay strong. There are many exercises you can do at work. Some of these exercises include the chair stand, which builds up the leg muscles.

      To try it, sit in a normal-height chair, stand up and then sit down; then repeat. You can also work your triceps by using the resistance against the arm rest, or as an assist if you need some support.

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        4. Go Low Impact

        If you are feeling pain from too much high-impact exercise, and you need to find alternatives, try yoga, water aerobics or an elliptical trainer. Elliptical trainers are the ideal low-impact home workout machine if you don’t have a gym membership.

        These trainers allow you to challenge your cardiovascular system and tone muscles without the high-impact shock on your joints from running or jumping.

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          5. Rest Up

          Overuse or injury can break down the cartilage of joints, which can cause a narrowing of the joint space and bones which rub together. This can form bony growths known as bone spurs, which can then lead to possible osteoarthritis.

          To stop this from happening, listen to your body and avoid overextending or overusing your joints when exercising. If you feel pain longer than two hours after exercising, your workout was probably too strenuous. If you have a burning sensation in your joints and muscles, rest.

          Your body is like a vehicle. It can overheat and needs to slow down at times to cool down. This burning sensation could be a sign of a more serious condition. Always listen to your body and rest when you feel pain. If the pain continues, see a doctor.

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            6. Stretch it Out

            If you are sore the next day after exercising, stretch! As much as you feel like that first cup of coffee is vital for waking up and becoming alert, so is increasing your flexibility and stretching. However, never stretch cold muscles. Do a light warm up before you stretch to make sure your joints, ligaments, and tendons are loosened up first.

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              7. Make Water Your Friend

              Don’t be afraid to get wet. If you have access to a gym that has a pool, use it! Water helps to alleviate weight on the joints in so many ways. Doing your workout in the pool helps take off that extra weight that gravity naturally adds, while also building up muscle and cardiovascular health.

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                8. Avoid Taking the Stairs

                If you have knee trouble, don’t always take the stairs to get those extra few minutes of exercise in each day. The constant use of the stairs can actually add to the breakdown of cartilage of the joints; so get your exercise in a low-impact way and avoid stairs when you can. When you do need to use stairs, try to engage your entire core to take the strain off of your lower body.

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                  9. Get to the Core

                  To help strengthen your joints, strengthen your core. Building up the abdominal muscles can help ease the burden on joints. This is especially true of the joints in the neck, back, lower back and hips. By having better support all around, you will naturally maintain a healthier posture and put less pressure on those joints.

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                    10. Drop Excess Pounds

                    If you want to reduce your risk of osteoarthritis and you are overweight, getting rid of excess fat can help to relieve the pressure on your joints. When you walk, go up and down stairs or get in or out of a chair, you can put up to one and a half times your body weight on your joints.

                    So, a 200-pound man will put 300 pounds of force on his joints with each step. All of that stress from the added weight can increase your risk for osteoarthritis. Once the osteoarthritis has occurred, extra weight will further aggravate the injury with increased pain and further breakdown of the joints.

                    Luckily, reducing that weight will also give you a huge benefit in relief for your knees. For every pound that you lose, you reduce the pressure on your joints by 1.5 pounds. That return on investment is definitely worth participating in a good weight-loss program.

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                      Sarah Hansen

                      A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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                      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                      Boundaries are limits

                      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                      • When do you feel disrespected?
                      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                      • When do you want to be alone?
                      • How much space do you need?

                      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                      Sample language:

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                      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                      Final Thoughts

                      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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