Joint pain is no longer a feature of old age. According to research in athletic surveys, about 66% of Americans aged between 34 and 49-years-old commented that they experience joint pain, joint stiffness, and other concerns.
Regardless of your age, if you enjoy an active lifestyle, then it's time to protect your joints during sports and other athletic pursuits. Caring for your joints helps to ensure that you can enjoy a higher quality of life and training, day after day. Remember that stiffness is only one of the many conditions that can occur as a result of poor joint care, and strains, sprains, dislocations, or even arthritis are a selection of some of the outcomes that you might experience.
So how can you protect your joints during sports?
1. Think about Nutrition
When it comes to staying fit, what you eat really does matter. Minimizing inflammatory responses throughout your body and reducing excess body fat is a great way to reduce some of the extra pressure that your joints experience when running, walking, and jumping.
To protect joints during sports, try taking up a heavily-alkaline diet rich in things like apples, ginger, kale, avocados, and spinach. These foods will boost your energy levels and help to reduce inflammation at the same time.
2. Wear the Right Shoes
Regardless of your chosen activity, your shoes should be able to provide stability, comfort, and cushioning while still offering a flexible range of movement. When you run, you place a great deal of stress on your shin bones, and your knee joints. To reduce some of the discomfort that this can lead to, a pair of high-quality running shoes can be used to absorb some of the shock.
3. Maintain Proper Posture
Another great way to protect joints during sports, is to work on your form, or posture. For example, when you're running, make sure that you're taking the right strides that place as little pressure on your joints as possible. Keep your feet straight, and avoid increasing intensity too quickly when you're looking for a challenge. You can even improve your posture when you're sitting at the office to reduce your chances of experiencing tightened muscles, back pain, and varicose veins.
4. Brace Yourself
If you've already injured your joints, tendons, ligaments, or muscles in the past, then a protective brace could help to reduce some of the discomfort and inflammation in that area, while offering additional support. A knee compression brace, for example, can help to provide you with a faster recovery time when overcoming an existing injury, as well as assisting in preventing injury in the future. Compression sleeves provide warmth, comfort, combat feedback, and even provide structural support.
5. Listen to your Body
Finally, if you want to protect joints during sports, avoid pushing your body to accomplish more than it can handle. Recognize times when you're starting to feel uncomfortable, and stop movements that are causing you pain. Knowing when to stop can mean the difference between significantly improving your performance, and ending up with a dislocated joint or other injury.