You made your resolutions in December. Now that the new year is upon us, it’s time to turn them into action points. We’re throwing a wrench in the typical resolution-to-goal-to-action routine this year, however, by adding a new step — prevention.
Sometimes, the best way forward is to prevent issues before they start, and when it comes to getting out there and living life on your terms, there are many things you can do. As you refresh and restart in the new year, follow these four guidelines to help prevent joint pain and inflammation before it starts.
Knock out joint pain with a personal touch of hot and cold therapy
You have a few options for heat therapy. Heating pads are the most common, and one that many people already have in their home. Beyond the apparent trait of applying heat to areas of pain, the most effective way to optimize your heating pad time is to make it a routine. Lie on the pad before bed while watching a movie or during a morning break between errands. If you’re active on the pickleball court or have a regular walking partner, applying the heat after you exercise can help prevent joint tightness.
Speaking of being active, a great way to reduce joint pain when exercising in cold climates is with air-activated heat patches (yes, the same ones you may have used to keep your hands or toes warm while skiing!). Keep a few in your jacket pocket and use them as needed.
For comfort, there are even heated vests and other wearables for both in-home and outside. Speak with your doctor to gather advice for any that might benefit your situation.
If heat isn’t helping, cold may do the trick. Simple cold packs that can be kept in the freezer are easily applied and reusable. We know, cold can be a discomforting thought, especially before you build a habit out of using the packs. If it’s too much, let the pack sit out on top of a towel for a few minutes before applying. You can also wrap the pack inside the towel for additional buffer.
Some prefer to alternate between hot and cold, finding the most relief from joint pain with a combined approach. Try heat in the morning to loosen joints before the day’s activities, and cold at night to curb inflammation and numb any pain that does persist.
Be stricter about what’s in your glass
Everyone needs to drink a lot of water. 15.5 cups per day for men and 11.5 cups for women, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is one of the easiest ways to take care of your joints, no matter your age or level of physical activity. And it’s also one of the most often overlooked — how many times have you been out at a restaurant and “treated” yourself to a soda, coffee, or alcoholic drink, while the glass of water put in front of you just sat there?
In 2023, “treat” yourself to that glass of water. In fact, treat yourself throughout the day by keeping a water bottle with you at all times, and sipping from it when you feel thirsty. Not to dwell on the obvious, but make sure it’s actually filled with water — not sports drinks, energy drinks, or the biggest con in the dietary lexicon, “diet” soda.
The science here is simple — the cartilage in your joints is made up of 80% water. When dehydration kicks in, your body looks for places from which to hydrate internally as it’s not coming externally. The cartilage that provides padding for joint movement is effectively a “well” for times like this. In the long term, this can be bad for joints.
Pay attention to your body
Physical activity, including regular stretching, is a great way to prevent arthritis. But sometimes, your body simply needs to relax. If your joints inflame after exercise, it might be time to take a day off and minimize the impact you put on them. Your body is trying to tell you something. Feeling sore, tired, or physically strained after exercise or a particularly busy day is natural, but joint pain might not be. When this happens, adjust your schedule going forward so that a rest day is built-in between to prevent the joint pain from kicking in.
By resting when your body asks for it, you’re paying attention to its needs and helping to prevent the joint pain before it starts. And besides, there’s no shame in taking a “sloth day” every now and then.
Add a supplement to your diet for consistent, long-lasting impact
We regularly harp about a healthy, omega-3 rich diet here at Haka Life Nutrition. After all, it’s among the most effective ways to prevent inflammation before it starts and to realize the benefits of a stabilized weight and proper nutrition.
To really kick this into gear, consider adding an omega-3 supplement like GLX3 to your daily diet. Made of New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel Oil, New Zealand Olive Oil, and Vitamin E Oil, GLX3 is an all-natural way to make sure you’re getting the proper amount of omega-3s, critically important for those with arthritis pain because your body can’t produce them itself.
The best part about GLX3 is that it has a subscription-based option (so you stay consistent!) or a one-time purchase option.