If you have joints that ache and swell, you might have arthritis, no matter your age. In fact, two-thirds of people with arthritis are under the age of 65, including an estimated 300,000 children.
Here are things you can do to decrease your chances of developing arthritis:
- Exercise regularly. Even though it might seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re in pain, exercise is beneficial for managing arthritis. It can strengthen muscles that support your painful joints. Try low-impact exercises such as biking, swimming, yoga, Pilates or walking. Add in some stretching to maintain your flexibility and range of motion.
- Watch your weight. Being overweight increases the load that you put on your joints. If you are overweight, try losing a few pounds. Losing as little as 10 pounds can slash your risk of getting knee arthritis by almost 50 percent.
- Avoid injury. As you age, your joints can start to wear out. But, injuries from playing sports or due to an accident can damage your cartilage and cause it to wear out more quickly. Use proper safety equipment while playing sports, and learn the correct exercise techniques.
- Eat right. Enjoy a diet full of foods that fight inflammation – including fish, olives and olive oil, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Limit sugar, processed foods, and saturated fat. Savor the season and ease your pain with these summer fruits and vegetables.
- Drink enough water. Water makes up 70 percent of the cartilage in joints and helps keep them lubricated so bones don’t rub up against each other. Drink plenty of water during the day.
- See your doctor. The damage from arthritis is progressive. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more destruction will occur to your joints. See your doctor if you experience any potential symptoms of arthritis such as pain, swelling or stiffness in one or more of your joints.