Simple Tips to Keep Your Joints Healthy

To maintain or improve your joint health, exercise is key. But what else can you do? Here are some more easy tips to keep your joints in top shape.

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Keep Moving

Many people with arthritis resist regular physical activity or exercise because they fear it will increase pain or further damage their joints. The body is supposed to move; our joints allow for movement.

In fact, movement eases joint stiffness, reduces joint pain, strengthens the muscles which surround the joints, and help us maintain a healthy weight. The benefits are real, so keep moving!

Protect Your Joints

It is important for everyone, especially people with arthritis, to protect their joints. The goal of joint-protection principles is to decrease pain and reduce the stress or burden placed on the joints.

Remember to:

  • Pay attention to pain signals.
  • Avoid activities that stress joints or increase pain.
  • Pay attention to proper body mechanics.
  • Balance activity and rest; don't overdo activities.
  • Check out available assistive devices or mobility aids.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Maintain Your Ideal Weight

With regard to optimal joint health, it is necessary for us to maintain our ideal body weight. Carrying excess body weight adds stress to our joints, especially the weight-bearing joints. Studies have found that weight loss significantly reduces knee pain, function, and stiffness associated with knee osteoarthritis.

Do Low-Impact Exercises

The desired benefits of regular physical activity and exercise can be achieved with low-impact exercise—a gentler type of exercise that minimizes the stress put on joints during high-intensity workouts.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, low-impact exercises that are easier on your joints include aquatic sports like swimming, social sports like golf, as well as walking and cycling.

Strengthen Your Muscles

The muscles that support our joints must be kept as strong as possible. You can work on maintaining or improving your muscle strength by doing strengthening exercises.

Weight training is often used as part of a strengthening regimen. Be careful to pace your workouts and not overdo it. With proper strength training, you will increase the stability of your joints, while decreasing pain.

Try Range-of-Motion Exercises

Arthritis is characteristically associated with limited range of motion. To preserve your current range of motion or improve it, you should routinely put each joint through its full range of motion.

Extend, bend, or rotate each of your joints. Range-of-motion exercises improve flexibility, relieve stiffness and pain, and help keep our joints functional.

Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Reducing inflammation is part of keeping arthritis symptoms under control and improving overall joint health. An anti-inflammatory diet involves avoiding foods that increase inflammation while including more foods that decrease inflammation. Many sources suggest that a Mediterranean diet is a good choice for keeping inflammation under control.

Prioritize Vitamin D and Calcium

Vitamin D and calcium are two nutrients that are required for healthy bones. Vitamin D is actually needed for calcium absorption. You can obtain vitamin D through sun exposure, diet, or supplementation.

Many people need some supplementation. A healthcare provider can order a blood test to determine if you are deficient in vitamin D. Low calcium is associated with decreased bone density and increased fracture risk.

Stop Smoking

Most people are unaware that smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Smoking also increases the likelihood of injuries involving bursitis or tendonitis. Smokers also have a higher risk of low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis. Stop smoking to improve bone health and joint health.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. DeRogatis M, Anis HK, Sodhi N, et al. Non-operative treatment options for knee osteoarthritis. Ann Transl Med. 2019;7(Suppl 7):S245. doi:10.21037/atm.2019.06.68

  2. Winters C. 15 ways to work out with arthritis. Arthritis Foundation.

  3. Ravalli S, Castrogiovanni P, Musumeci G. Exercise as medicine to be prescribed in osteoarthritisWorld J Orthop. 2019;10(7):262-267. doi:10.5312/wjo.v10.i7.262

  4. Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Mediterranean dietary pattern, inflammation and endothelial function: a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2014;24(9):929-39. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2014.03.003

  5. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Osteoporosis overview.

  6. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Smoking and musculoskeletal health.

By Carol Eustice
Carol Eustice is a writer covering arthritis and chronic illness, who herself has been diagnosed with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.