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The Benefits of an Active Lifestyle for Joint Health

Over time, our body faces typical signs of aging. However, if you don’t proactively work on maintaining healthy joints, they can decline faster than expected. Joints are where two of your bones come together with muscles and ligaments connecting to stabilize them. If you want healthy joints, you need to reduce the wear and tear on joint cartilage over time. Living an active lifestyle is key to keeping your joints healthy and continuing to do the activities you love. Healthy joints also play an essential role in preventing early-onset pain and the need for replacement surgeries.

At Valley Orthopaedic Specialists, we encourage following an active lifestyle to increase range of motion, reduce pain, aid in recovery if you’ve had an injury, and help prevent further damage to your joints. Here’s a closer look at how movement and staying active benefits your joints:

1. Boosts Blood Flow

When you are active, your heart pumps harder, increasing blood flow throughout the body. This includes improving blood flow to the joints, ensuring your synovial membranes are exposed to nutrients and oxygen. Synovial membranes are soft tissue that produces fluid much like oil within an engine. These allow the two bones connected by the joint to move smoothly. As you exercise, the weight that bears down on joints forces water molecules out of the cartilage. When that weight is lifted, they return.

2. Lubricates Joints

When you engage in physical activity, the synovial membranes encourage the synovial fluid’s circulation, protecting your joints. The more you exercise, the more your joints are lubricated, leading to a better range of motion.

3. Builds Muscle

It’s essential to have strong muscles, tendons, and ligaments around your joints to keep them protected. Strong muscles are critical for maintaining healthy joints and preventing injuries. Exercise helps strengthen muscles around your joints, and when you keep these tissues healthy, they brace and protect the joint, reducing pressure on weakened ones.

4. Activates Joint-Repair Genes

Although it remains unclear how your genes play a part in joint repair, researchers have discovered that joint movement activates repair genes that help rebuild cartilage. Living an active lifestyle can activate those genes associated with the repair. However, understand that you don’t want to overdo exercise since it can have the opposite effect. When doing any kind of activity for healthy joints, always listen to your body and avoid over-exercising to avoid an injury.

When choosing what types of exercises you can do to build healthy joints, variety is critical. A right balance of flexibility, muscle strengthening, and aerobic exercises can help you maintain joint health. Great options include:

  • Flexibility exercises. This includes pilates, yoga, and other similar movements to help maintain a full range of motion.
  • Low impact exercises. For low impact, you can take part in walking, swimming, and bicycling. These are easy to perform with little equipment.
  • Stretching exercises. Stretching exercises should be done before and after strength or aerobic training for improved performance and safety.
  • Weight training. Lifting weights strengthens muscles for improved joint stability. Remember to start light and work your way up to heavier amounts.
  • Cardiovascular exercises. These movements should be started at low intensity. As you grow older, avoid high-impact training such as running on hard surfaces, step aerobics, or jumping rope.

Keep Your Joints Healthy With Valley Orthopaedic Specialists

One of the best things you can do for your joints is to maintain an active lifestyle. While there are cutting-edge treatments to help treat joint pain associated with aging or injuries, the goal is to avoid the need for these by proactively protecting your joints. If you suffer from joint pain or injury, the care providers at Valley Orthopaedic Specialists are here to offer the best services. Contact us today to request your appointment!