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Protect Your Joints


Have your knees started to ache? Does your hip hurt when you walk? Are you rubbing your back at night? Your joints are critical to your mobility, whether you are sitting, standing, or actively moving. Follow these tips to protect your joints and help prevent osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis.


Avoid carrying extra body weight. The higher your weight, the more stress you are putting on your joints, especially your hips, knees, back and feet. Reach and maintain your ideal weight.


Move your body. Exercise protects joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Strong muscles keep your joints from rubbing against one another, wearing down cartilage. The key is to get daily physical exertion, doing a variety of activities such as range-of-motion exercises, aerobic exercise, and strengthening exercises.


Correct your posture. Be aware of how you are sitting and standing. Are you slouching or straining your head forward? Good posture with proper alignment protects the joints in your neck, back, hips, and knees. Be aware of


Lift and carry with care. When lifting or carrying, use the largest and strongest joints and muscles so as to avoid injury. For instance, when lifting, bend from the knees to rely on the strong thigh muscles rather than bending from the hips and straining your back.


Listen to your body. If you are in pain, don’t ignore it. Pain after activity or exercise may be a sign that you have overstressed your joints. Apply ice and get rest.


Remember rest periods. Give yourself short breaks during extended periods of strenuous labor. Repetitive stress on joints for long periods of time can accelerate the wear and tear that causes osteoarthritis.


Don’t stay in one position for too long. It can be taxing to sit or stand for hours a day, five days a week. Changing positions regularly will decrease the stiffness in your muscles and joints. Try to fit in one-minute breaks to do simple stretches and exercises at your workstation.


Start slow. Don’t expect to be able to run a mile if you haven’t run in ages. Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react to them. This will reduce the chance of injury.


Ask for help. Need to move a large piece of furniture or heavy box? It can be tempting to try to get it done yourself but it would be safer to get someone to help you with the task.