Nourish Your Joints (FN1489, Revised Feb. 2019)

Most of us experience some joint stiffness during seasonal changes. However, degenerative diseases such as arthritis can inhibit daily activities.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D. Food and Nutrition Specialist and Professor

Sherri Nordstrom Stastny, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., C.S.S.D., Assistant Professor Angie Jacobs, Dietetic Intern (former)

Availability: Web only

Most of us experience some joint stiffness during seasonal changes. However, degenerative diseases such as arthritis can inhibit daily activities. Help keep your joints mobile with these tips:

Stay Fit

Be good to your joints by staying faithful to a physical activity routine. Benefits of fitness routines include:

  • Weight loss

- Less weight = less strain on your joints

  • Reduced risk of osteoarthritis
  • Improved flexibility

- More flexibility = possible improvement in pain and performance and reduced disability

Did You Know?

Those who lose weight cut their risk of osteoarthritis in half.

Try these joint-friendly fitness ideas:

  • Water aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Biking
  • Elliptical machines

Exercise Tips

  • Begin new exercises slowly.
  • Keep joints warm.
  • Stretch and warm up.
  • Keep to low-impact exercises, not bouncing movements that stress joints.
  • Don’t do anything that causes more pain.

Other alternative treatments that may help the joints include:

  • Water therapy
  • Acupuncture

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is important to prevent dehydration and for keeping joints lubricated. Often as we age, our thirst mechanism stops working as well, so drink water even when you might not feel very thirsty.

Eat Smart

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids also is important for joint health. Get 2 to 3 cups of fruits and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day to maintain adequate nutrition and provide your body with vital antioxidants.

Consider Some Extras

If your doctor has recommended adding a supplement, be careful to follow the instructions on the label. Common supplements taken to relieve joint pain include:

  • Glucosamine/Chondroitin
  • Omega-3/fish oil
  • Tart cherry
  • Turmeric

Test Your Knowledge

1. How many Americans suffer from osteoarthritis?

a. 2 million
b. 27 million
c. 1 billion
d. 5

2. Which joint disease is characterized by morning stiffness and heated, swollen joints?

a. Osteoarthritis
b. Rheumatoid arthritis
c. Lupus
d. Chronic hypertaeboitis

3. What is generally known as the “wear-and-tear” joint disease?

a. Osteoarthritis
b. Lupus
c. Hip dysplasia
d. Rheumatoid arthritis

4. True or false: Vitamin D deficiency may increase pain and make walking more difficult for osteoarthritis patients.

Answers: 1. B; 2. B; 3. A; 4. True: Recent studies show a connection between vitamin D and joint health. Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D is important for many parts of the body, including the joints.

Reviewed February 2019



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