Arthritis affects millions of people around the world, this degenerative disease does have more than one cause, but it usually has the same results. Arthritis affects the cartilage between the bones in the joints, usually the knees, wrist, and fingers that constrict the range of motion and cause pain.
While there is no cure, the chances of getting arthritis can be reduced by changes in the lifestyle. The earlier these changes are made, the more the chances are reduced in contracting arthritis. However, it must be noted that some factors such as heredity may allow for the onset of arthritis no matter what type of preventative measures are used. In those particular cases, the symptoms can be significantly diminished.
Exercise: Perhaps the most important prevention method for arthritis, exercise not only keeps the joints more flexible, it also strengthens the muscles and bones and improves cardiovascular health. A good exercise program includes both aerobic, which is the type of exercise to keep the body in motion such as walking, jogging, or aerobics, and anaerobic, which is building muscles such as weightlifting or resistance exercises.
Stretching: A daily stretching routine after the muscles have warmed up can help keep your full range of motion. It is important to warm up your muscles first to prevent any damage or tearing while stretching. The benefits of stretching go beyond preventing arthritis, it not only helps keep the full range of motion it also can be very beneficial when combined with exercise.
Weight: Obesity can help bring about arthritis and contribute to the pain and lack of motion. By reducing your weight to normal levels through exercise and a healthy diet, you not only reduce the chances of contracting arthritis, you also reduce the stress on your joints that the excess weight was causing. If you are considerably obese, remember to start slow and not overtax yourself. It took years to put the weight on and it will take a considerable amount of time for all the excess weight to come off.
Eat Right: A diet rich in healthy nutrients is always a good thing. By emphasizing calcium and Vitamins C and E, you help strengthen your muscles and bones to help them outlast any degenerative effect that arthritis might have. Other vitamins and healthy substances can also contribute to your diet, but calcium in particular strengthens the bones and that can be the difference maker.
Water: Your cartilage is mostly made up of water, by drinking enough fluids you help keep your body lubricated and the bones in the joints from rubbing together. Keeping hydrated is also important when you exercise or are out in hot weather as dehydration can have a severe effect on the body.
Keeping active, eating healthy, reducing your weight to normal levels, and drinking plenty of water can substantially reduce your chances for contracting arthritis. And if you should be unfortunate enough to inherit this disease, these aforementioned actions will help keep you more active and in less pain that those who lead sedentary lifestyles and eat poor diets.