Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Get Connected with Healthy Joints

What keeps us connected and also sets us apart? It's our joints, and it's important to keep them healthy and strong! Our joints are vital to all of our movements, connecting our bones and muscles and providing the foundation for all activity. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and a healthy weight can greatly reduce your risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders and keep your joints healthy throughout your life.

The most common musculoskeletal disorder is osteoarthritis, which affects about 21 million adults. It is caused by wear and tear on the joints and can lead to aches, pain and stiffness in the joints. It becomes more common with age, but that doesn't mean it's inevitable. Healthy lifestyle habits can greatly reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis and keep you healthy.

Be active

Exercise does more than manage your weight and lower disease risk. It also helps to improve bone and joint strength, balance, muscle tone and joint flexibility. Even simple exercises like walking, swimming, gardening and other low-impact exercises can improve your health. Strength training also helps to increase bone density and muscle mass.

Eat a healthy diet

Calcium and vitamin D are key to establishing and maintaining bone and joint health. Calcium-rich foods include low-fat milk and yogurt, leafy green vegetables, calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice, and enriched grains. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and is found in fortified milk, eggs and fish. Sunlight is also an excellent source of vitamin D. Just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure per day can help you meet your daily intake of vitamin D.

Focus on a healthy weight

A healthy weight means less stress on muscles, bones and joints. If you need to lose weight, start by making simple dietary changes and being active. Eating a healthy, balanced diet of fresh fruits, whole grains and lean protein along with 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each day can help you maintain or lower your weight.

To learn more about keeping your joints healthy, Web MD offers information in its Arthritis Health Center. You can also learn more about keeping your joints healthy from the Arthritis Foundation.

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