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Protecting Your Joints as a Senior

The human body has hundreds of joints — 200 to 400, depending on the definition of joint used and the resource. The common number given is over 350, which means your body is capable of moving in almost infinite ways. At the same time, anything that moves can theoretically stop moving, and with joints, sometimes that lack of motion is due to injury, illness or simple wear and tear.

You can work with your health care provider and take some action in your assisted living apartment right here in Grand Junction to help protect your joints as you age to ensure optimal functionality as long as possible. Here are a few tips for doing your part to care for the hundreds of joints in your body.

Stay Hydrated

Water is an important part of all your cartilage, which is the tissue that connects your joints together. Staying hydrated keeps your muscles, joints and even heart working better, which means it's important to drink water when you're thirsty and avoid sugary, caffeinated drinks that can act as diuretics, causing your body to lose moisture.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Joints that labor under an excess load are more likely to wear more quickly or succumb to energy. Maintaining a healthy weight takes that burden off your joints and makes it easier to move and remain active.

Even small changes in your weight can have big impacts to certain joints, especially those in the legs. For example, losing one pound of body weight removes around four pounds of force from your knee as you stand and walk. That means an excess 10 pounds could be putting up to 40 pounds of extra force on your knees.

Observe Good Exercise Form and Practice

Exercising and staying active is great for your whole body — within reason and the guidelines provided by your health care professionals. But if you're exercising inappropriately or not following good form, you could be doing harm to your joints.

One way to avoid exercise-related damage to joints and muscles is to warm up and cool down after exercising. If you're going to engage in stretching and yoga, consider taking a brisk walk around the community first, for example.

If you're not sure how to institute a self-guided exercise program in a healthy way, talk to our staff. We offer recreational activities, including exercise, and on-site staff are available to consult with you about proper routines, stretching and form.

Seek Medical Attention as Needed

Some aches and pains are part of life, especially as we age. But you should still listen to your body's cues. A bit of soreness is expected after exercising, but sharp pains during movement aren't typically normal, for example.

If you feel pain or soreness in your joints — whether you've engaged in activity or not — it can be a sign that something is wrong. You can talk immediately with one of the Grand Villa staff to understand the next best steps for your pain or injury, or seek assistance from your doctor or other health care provider.