The 7 Habits Bad for Your Joints

Your daily habits, from what you eat to how often you text, can significantly impact the health of your joints. Over decades of use, anything you do repeatedly is likely to cause wear and tear. This is especially true for the protective cushion between your bones known as cartilage. As we age, the risk of developing osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, increases. About 50 percent of adults over 65 have arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common form, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While you can’t stop the aging process, you can make lifestyle changes to protect your joints. Here are the seven worst habits for your joints:

Smoking: Smoking does a number on your joints. This can result in cartilage loss, because the nicotine in cigarettes narrows blood vessels and, as a result, the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach the joint cartilage is restricted.

Lack of Exercise: Regular physical activity helps maintain joint function and flexibility. To counter this, try to aim for 30 minutes of joint-friendly exercise five days a week.

Overuse of Technology: Constant texting and typing can strain your fingers and wrists.

Excessive Weight: Carrying extra weight puts additional stress on your joints, especially in the knees and hips.

Eating Foods that Cause Inflammation: The usual suspects such as red meat, white sugar, French fries, soda, and pastries can worsen joint pain. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as eggs and cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel can help alleviate inflamed joints.

Skimping on Sleep: Skipping out on much needed sleep can make the pain experienced in the daytime even worse.

Skipping Stretching: Not stretching regularly can reduce your joint flexibility and range of motion. Overdoing exercise just on a weekend doesn’t do your joints any favors either. You will need to find the sweet spot with a mix of aerobic exercise and strength training.

By avoiding these habits, you can help keep your joints healthy and reduce your risk of osteoarthritis.

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