Bone and joint conditions are becoming increasingly common in the United States. In fact, nearly half of Americans over the age of 18 – about 48 percent – have reported musculoskeletal (bone and joint) problems. This is according to The Burden of Musculoskeletal Conditions in the United States. These conditions often include back pain, arthritis, traumatic injuries and osteoporosis.
One of the more common causes of bone and joint issues stems from a condition known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the degeneration, or “wear and tear,” of joints that is often associated with prior injuries and weight gain. In addition, stress on joints, insufficient nutrition and lack of physical activity can also play a role in your musculoskeletal health.
It’s never too late to begin implementing the necessary steps to achieve healthy bones and joints. Take a look at our list of five ways that you can improve your musculoskeletal health today.
Diet plays an important role in your bone and joint health. It is important to incorporate foods into your diet that are rich in calcium and vitamin D. These foods include dark leafy greens, yogurt, salmon, trout, calcium fortified cereals and white beans. Also, try incorporating anti-inflammatory foods, such as almonds, blueberries, cherries, papaya, pineapple, peppers, garlic and ginger, to reduce the symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions.
In addition to improving your diet, you can also enhance it with calcium and vitamin D supplements. If you are worried that your diet may not provide the necessary amount of nutrients, try taking an inventory of your meals for a week to see if your body is receiving adequate nutrition. You can then add supplements to your diet based on the vitamins you’re lacking.
Most doctors will tell you that one of the most beneficial decisions you can make to improve your health is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. This is especially true for bone and joint health. However, too much exercise without the proper support can be detrimental to your joints. Try starting slow with a 15-minute walk two to three times per week. You’ll be glad you did!
Sunlight is a wonderful (and free) source of vitamin D that is greatly underutilized. Doctors suggest spending at least 15 minutes in the sun three times per week in order to receive the recommended dose of vitamin D. This task can be as simple as taking some time to sit on the front porch of your house.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
A common cause of musculoskeletal conditions is stress that is placed on your bones and joints. One of the simplest ways to prevent this from occurring is by replacing your current shoes with a style that provides adequate support. You may want to visit a specialty shoe store where they can analyze your feet and suggest a proper shoe style for you.