Got Stiff Joints? These Tips Can Help

June 24, 2022
Got Stiff Joints? These Tips Can Help

Don't let joint pain and stiffness get the best of you. Here's how to keep joints healthier.

As you age, it's common to experience joint pain and stiffness on occasion, even if you don't have arthritis. But there are steps you can take to improve your joint health, making it less likely you'll have to deal with joint pain or stiffness.

Here are 7 tips for improving the health of your joints:

  1. Keep moving. One of the best things you can do for your joints is to keep your body moving. Strength-training makes muscles and ligaments that support your joints stronger. Aerobic exercise may help reduce joint swelling. And just moving more throughout your day, no matter what you do, helps prevent joints from getting stiff and painful.
  2. Lose weight. Another great thing you can do for your joints is to lose weight. This is especially true for weight-bearing joints such as knees and hips. Research shows that every pound of weight lost results in a 4-pound reduction in stress on the knees.
  3. Prevent overuse injuries. Try to avoid doing the same thing over and over using the same joint and the same motion. That's not always possible, so when you engage in repetitive activities, such as typing on a computer, swinging a tennis racket or doing a specific work-related activity, wear a brace and take frequent breaks.
  4. Keep joints protected. You can't avoid every type of joint injury, like pulls, strains or sprains, but you can take steps to protect joints during high-risk activities. Wear padding on knees and elbows during activities such as skating or high-impact sports. Wear braces while playing tennis or golf if your elbow or wrist hurts.
  5. Stretch. Being flexible is good for your joints. So make stretching a part of your weekly routine (aim for doing it at least 3 times a week). Just don't stretch cold, tight muscles. Start by warming up for about 10 minutes or save your stretching for after a workout.
  6. Eat a well-rounded diet. What you eat can affect the health of your joints, as well as your bones and muscles. Aim to get adequate amounts of protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C and other important nutrients.
  7. Change your activity. If you find that some types of exercise exacerbate joint pain, like running or playing basketball, switch to lower-impact activities. Swimming, bicycling and walking tend to be easier on your joints. It's important to know your limits and modify or stop any activities that cause pain.

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Date Last Reviewed: March 25, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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