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As you get older, you might notice an extra twinge in your knee or tightness in your hips. And while aging affects things such as bone density and joint flexibility, there are things you can do to counteract those effects. The younger you are when you start these healthy habits, the better.
Charles Toulson, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Plano, offers a few tips for healthier joints.
1. Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, the best thing you can do for your joints is to begin an exercise regimen and eat a healthy diet. “Extra weight on the body causes wear and tear on the joints,” Dr. Toulson says. “Maintaining a healthy weight eases the stress on your knees, hips and back.”
2. Get moving. In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, aerobic exercise can help reduce joint swelling. Some exercises, such as running, can be jarring for your joints, so consider swimming or bicycling, Dr. Toulson suggests.
3. Strength train. Aerobic exercise is good for your heart and for burning calories, but it’s not the only exercise you need. Strength training is also important. “When your muscles are strong, the joints are supported, and that reduces your risk for injury,” Dr. Toulson says. “Strength training can also help slow bone mineral loss.”
4. Choose the right foods. A healthy diet is good for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing a number of health conditions. For joint health, be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D, Dr. Toulson says. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in salmon and other foods or a supplement, are also good for joint health. Your doctor can help you understand the diet plan that’s best for you.
Baylor Scott & White - Plano’s team of orthopaedic experts is committed to keeping your joints healthy so you can remain active and pain-free. Learn more about our orthopaedic services or get a referral to an orthopaedic specialist on the Baylor Scott & White - Plano medical staff in our online directory.
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