Handle Heavy Loads

To make heavy loads more comfortable to handle, use your largest, strongest joints and muscles to take the stress off smaller hand joints and to spread the load over large surface areas. Hold items close to your body, which is less stressful for your joints. For joint safety, slide objects whenever possible rather than lift them.

Resolve to reduce

Every extra kilo puts four times the stress on your knees. The flip side is that even a small weight loss gives your knees relief. Research has shown that losing as little as 5kg may improve your joint health and cut your risk of osteoarthritis of the knee by 50%.

Don't stomp your feet

Research shows pounding exercise like kickboxing and step aerobics can be tough on joints. Switch to low-impact activities like biking and swimming that offer the same calorie-burning benefits without the painful pounding. Take care with repetitive activities – truck drivers jumping down from cabs, or farmers jumping down from farm equipment.

Take the plunge

From walking to strength training to jogging to aerobic classes (and let’s not forget the plain old swim), aquatic exercises allow you to keep doing many of the exercises you love while taking a load off your joints. Other low weight-bearing exercise options are cycling, exercycle and treadmill.

Stretch

Stretching isn’t only for workouts. Stretch in the morning, take breaks during the day, including at work, to stretch and get re-energised to help keep your muscles and joints flexible.

Picture portion sizes

Eating proper portions helps lose and maintain a healthy weight, which lightens the load on your joints. For instance: 1 serving of meat is 80g or the size of the palm of your hand, 50g of cheese is the size of a pair of dominoes, 1 cup of vegetables is the size of your fist.

Build strong bones

Boost your calcium intake, because a diet rich in this vital mineral helps to keep your bones sturdy and can lower your risk of osteoporosis (the brittle bone disease). There are plenty of sources of besides dairy, including broccoli, kale, figs, salmon and calcium supplements.

Throw some fish on the grill

Fish is a fantastic alternative to red meat. Coldwater fish such as salmon and mackerel, have particular health benefits as they contain Omega 3 fatty acids. If you are not a fan of fish, then talk to your pharmacist about possible Omega 3 supplementation.

Add colour to your diet

Choose fruits and vegetables in a wide range of colours to get maximum nutrients, such as fibre, disease-fighting antioxidants and an abundance of phytochemicals.

Check-in with yourself

Monitor how you feel after exercise. Joints still aching two hours after your workout is telling you something. Listen to them and ease up on your routine next time.

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