When I added running into my workout routine and sustained a knee injury, I realized how little I had been protecting my joints. As we age, taking care of our bones and joints needs to be more of a priority.

Joints are where two or more bones are joined together like your knees, shoulders, and hips. They often have cartilage on the ends of bones where they come together to prevent them from rubbing against another. Over time these joints tend to wear down, so it’s essential to keep them healthy and have pain-free mobility. Here are four ways to improve your joint health.

    1. Be Active: It’s crucial to gain movement in your joints to keep them healthy. Consider doing 30 minutes of low-impact workouts like biking and swimming a day. Allowing for movement can ease stiffness, pain, and also strengthen the muscles around your joints. It’s also important to be consistent with your routine.
    2. Proper Diet: Vitamin D and calcium are essential for healthy bones. Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium. Dairy products are a good source of calcium, as are leafy greens like kale. You can also take supplements. An anti-inflammatory diet can also be helpful. This includes eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants.
    3. Develop Your Muscles: A strong core will help you balance your joints and not put extra stress on them. It is also vital to build the muscles that support your joints, especially if you have weakened bones from osteoporosis. You can improve those muscles with strength training exercises.
    4. Protect Your Joints: There are several things you can do to protect your joints. If you smoke, you must stop. Smoking actually increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone injuries. Secondly, if you feel pain in your joints, it’s important to stop what you’re doing and seek medical treatment. Avoid those activities because stress can have a lasting effect. Maintaining a healthy weight is also helpful. Any excess weight can add pressure to your joints.