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Be Good to Your Joints

Your joints are affected by factors in your lifestyle each day. Factors at work, home and during extracurricular activities can be stressful to the joints. This stress can be cumulative and lead to joint pain and/or arthritis now or later in life. In an effort to prevent or control this joint pain, here are some tips from the Arthritis Foundation for how to be good to your joints.

1. Lose Weight

You'll feel better. Every extra pound you gain puts four times the stress on your knees. The flip side is that even a small amount of weight loss will give your knees relief. Research has shown that losing as little as 11 pounds may cut your risk of osteoarthritis of the knee by 50 percent.

2. Get Moving

  • Sttttttrrrreeettttccchhhhhh. Stretching isn't just for workouts anymore. Take breaks throughout the day, including at your office, to get re-energized and help keep your muscles and ligaments flexible and strong.
  • Don't stomp your feet. Research shows pounding exercises like kickboxing, jogging and step aerobics can be tough on joints. Switch to low-impact activities like biking and swimming that offer the same calorie-burning benefits without the painful pounding.

3. Work Smarter

  • Avoid a pain in the neck. Document holders attached to computer monitors and positioned at eye-level, along with hands-free telephone headsets, can reduce neck strain.
  • Ditch the high heels. Unless you're a fashion model, chances are you can live without high heels. Experts say a three-inch heel stresses your foot seven times more than a one-inch heel. In addition, heels put extra stress on your knees and may increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis.

4. Relieve Stress and Pain

  • Enjoy a massage. Massage can relieve muscle tension and help reduce fatigue. Invest in a professional massage or research information on do-it-yourself tips. Go ahead and treat yourself to a soothing massage after a busy period at work or stressful time. Certain forms of massage, such as Swedish, focus on muscles and joints to improve function.
  • Sit, soak and soothe. A warm bath before bed can relieve muscle tension, ease aching joints and help you get a good night's sleep.

These tips were taken from the Arthritis Foundation's 51 Ways To Be Good To Your Joints. This guide is full of joint-healthy tips for good living, from nutrition and exercise to talking with your doctor and managing your daily tasks. To order this or other FREE brochures on arthritis and arthritis related diseases, visit their website at www.arthritis.org, or call the Arthritis Foundation, Eastern Missouri Chapter at (314) 991-9333 in the St. Louis area or (800) 406-2491 outside of the area.

Thanks to Brenda Arndt of the Arthritis Foundation, Eastern Missouri Chapter for this article.

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