Most people don’t give much thought to their joints until they start to notice symptoms of wear, but prevention is key to maintaining healthy joints. To protect your joints and minimize conditions like arthritis, here are seven things that you can do today.

1. Stay active– Make it a priority to move every day. Staying active can prevent stiffness and help you maintain a healthy weight, which will help protect your joints from unnecessary wear and tear. Try to stick with lower-impact activities such as walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, and strength training.

2. Maintain a healthy weight– Extra pounds add stress to the joints, especially in the hips, knees, and back. Weight loss has been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness while improving function.

3. Focus on posture– Whether you’re standing or sitting, improper posture will wreak havoc on the joints in your neck, back, and even knees. For starters, sit or stand tall as though a string was pulling up on the top of your head. Keep your head and shoulders slightly retracted back. Maintain a little bend in your knees when standing.

4. Eat healthy– A nutrient-dense diet will help you maintain a healthy weight and help reduce inflammation (which triggers joint pain). Check out this nutrition infographic for details.

5. Stay strong– Building and maintaining strong muscles will help support your joints. Be sure to include strength training exercises in your fitness routine, and don’t neglect your core. A strong core provides stability and also helps with balance so you can lower the chance of falls and injuries. Don’t know where to start? Try this simple abdominal brace exercise.

6. Don’t smoke– Smokers have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis and bone fractures.

7. Treat your injuries– If you do happen to injure your joints, seek treatment right away. Our office can provide a customized treatment plan to get you back on track and give you tools to avoid more damage in the future.