A Healthy Weight Can Protect Your Joints
The reasons for maintaining a healthy weight are well-known. From reducing your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes to keeping your cholesterol in check, an ideal body weight can reap numerous health benefits. Perhaps one benefit that is most overlooked is that a healthy weight also protects your joints against injury and diseases such as arthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis with approximately 27 million Americans living with the disease. OA is no longer considered a consequence of aging, but instead it’s considered to be something that is preventable. While you cannot control a genetic trait, maintaining a healthy weight goes a long way in protecting your joints. The more you weigh; the more stress you put on your joints.
A joint is the connection between two bones that allows body parts to bend or turn, such as your elbows, hips or neck. Cartilage and other smooth tissue, as well as a lubricant called synovial, cushion the joints so bones do not rub together. But aging, injury or carrying too much weight can cause wear and tear in your cartilage that can lead to a reaction in your joints, causing arthritis.
Keeping your weight within a healthy range is the best thing you can do for your joints. Weight-bearing joints, such as your knees, hips and back, have to support some, if not all, of your body weight. That is why so many overweight people have problems with these areas of their body. The higher your weight, the more wear and tear you place on your joints.
Research has shown that for every pound gained, a person puts four times more stress on their knees. Along with helping to maintain an ideal weight, exercise is also important to overall joint health. People with a sedentary lifestyle that involves long hours in front of a television or computer typically suffer from joint stiffness because they move less.
Experts agree that the best way to protect your joints is to get up and get moving!