Making a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you avoid serious orthopedic problems. Brenton Bohlig, M.D., Genesis Orthopedic Sports Medicine, says, “Small changes now can prevent problems later when it comes to avoiding orthopedic problems.”
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight for You: For every 10 lbs. of weight gained, there is a 36% increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. Obesity also puts more weight on your joints, which can weaken muscles and make injuries more likely.
2. Keep Moving: Exercise is good for everyone, even those with some orthopedic issues. Exercise can include stretching, walking, swimming and biking on level ground. It is important to avoid activities that put too much stress on your joints, like deep knee bends. Dr. Bohlig says, “It is important to keep working to increase muscle mass no matter your age.”
3. Develop a strong core: Strong core muscles are vital to helping you balance your body weight. Yoga and Pilates are good ways to exercise, which will strengthen your core and promote orthopedic health.
4. Stretch before exercise: Stretching is vital to maintain flexibility, improve performance and decrease stress injuries like sprains and strains. If you're going to lift weights or do high impact aerobics, be sure to warm up by stretching before and after. These types of exercises promote increased flexibility and help prevent muscle and joint injuries. Warming up is especially important as you age as joints can become less resilient. Dr. Bohlig says, "Stretching is a particularly good way to warm up before activity because it mimics the movement you'll be doing with exercise, like leg pendulums or walking lunges. These stretches also increase blood flow to muscles, which reduces the resistance and increases their flexibility."
5. Wear Comfortable Shoes: Supportive shoes that fit correctly and are comfortable to wear are essential to keeping your back aligned. Women who wear high heels regularly increase their risk of developing back pain and knee pain.
6. Get regular checkups: Yearly visits to your primary care doctor are a great way to stay on top of your orthopedic health. This is especially important for older adults, who can be more likely to develop arthritis and suffer injuries. A sports medicine physician can discuss additional preventive measures to protect your orthopedic health. Dr. Bohlig says, “A sports medicine physician can help you with musculoskeletal pain or injuries of all kinds, including arthritis. They are experts in restoring the function of injured joints and lessening the pain.”