How important are joints? And, why should you safeguard your joints as you age? According to the Arthritis Foundation, at least 130 million global citizens will contract degenerative joint disease by the year 2050.
They say “Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” That’s true in more ways than one. In our youth, the aging process seems gradual and imperceptible. We feel invincible in our 20s, but that doesn’t mean we’ll feel the same 50 years later.
Joints are naturally an important part of the body. Specifically, a joint is where two or more bones meet to facilitate movement.
The cartilage protecting the ends of the bones often degenerate with age. Cartilage consists of connective tissues that reduce friction between the bones during movement. Your body also produces less synovial fluid as you get older. Synovial fluid is the “oil” that facilitates smooth joint movement.
Once the joints stop working optimally, you may feel pain, swelling, or stiffness. Preventative joint care can help you stay healthy as you age. But what, exactly, does that type of care look like?
Below, we explore joint health, explain what happens to joints as you age — and offer tips on how you can keep them healthy.
One note as you begin to read: none of the joint care tips we offer are mutually exclusive. A healthy diet is important no matter your age. So, it’s never too early (or late) to take steps to treat your body (and joints) right.
In Your 20s: Eat a Healthy Diet
Let’s face it: when you’re in your 20s, your diet may be far from healthy. From espresso shots to pints of Ben and Jerry’s, it’s easy to develop poor eating habits.
The good news is that you don’t have to make drastic changes to your diet. Even small adjustments can make a significant difference in your joint health over the years.
The most vulnerable part of your joints is the cartilage that absorbs shocks between the bones, preventing them from grinding against each other. The food you eat in your 20s can help you rebuild cartilage.
Most health experts recommend a range of foods to strengthen cartilage:
- fruits and vegetables, which provide antioxidants
- low-fat dairy foods, which contain calcium and vitamin D
- healthy oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, safflower oil, and coconut oil
Berries, nuts, and oily fish can also accomplish similar goals. And of course, you can always consider a supplement to get the nutrients you need. Be sure to choose one that specifically supports joint health and includes calcium, vitamins C and D, and glucosamine.
In Your 30s: Stay in (the Right) Shape
Many people in their 30s have young children and/or full-time jobs that require much of their attention. They often have little spare time for physical activity.
This means an active lifestyle, previously supported by college sports and other extracurricular activities, tends to fall by the wayside. So, it’s important to take proactive measures to safeguard the joints.
Healthy joints require strong muscles and a healthy weight for support. Too much weight and too little muscle mass, and your joints may be in trouble a decade down the road.
That’s why it’s important to integrate exercise into your daily regime, starting in your 30s. Include exercises that train your core muscles, and don’t skip leg day. Leg exercises are an important part of a whole-body fitness program. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, consider performing simple exercises at home.
Weight training, of course, isn’t the only activity to try. If your job keeps you tied to your desk, be sure to take plenty of breaks to stretch your muscles. This helps avoid joint stiffness. The steps you take to safeguard joint health now can pay big dividends down the road. Low-impact exercises like yoga may also help.
If you’re a woman, your 30s is also the time when you begin to experience joint pain. If your joints are starting to ache, consider topical supplements to help mitigate any discomfort.
Cannabinoids, especially those present in Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil, may be an optimum solution. In a 2018 study by The Arthritis Foundation, 67% of 2,600 respondents reported health improvements after using CBD supplements to treat their chronic joint pain.
In Your 40s: Check in With Your Doctor
Regardless of whether you’re experiencing symptoms, consider seeking medical advice on joint pain, underlying causes, and potential treatments in your 40s.
The most common form of joint pain is osteoarthritis (OA), which occurs when the cartilage in the bones breaks down. While it’s most common in the 60s and 70s (in fact, the CDC estimates that 33% of adults aged 60 and older have the condition), osteoarthritis can also appear in the early to mid-40s.
According to the CDC, 29.3% of adults aged 45-64 were diagnosed with arthritis from 2013 to 2015. Women had more incidences of arthritis than men (26% to 19.1%). In addition, arthritis affected non-Hispanic whites more (41.3 million) than non-Hispanic blacks (6.1 million).
Even if you don’t have osteoarthritis, you may experience joint stiffness. At your annual physical, report any symptoms or physical discomfort to your physician. They may give you some general tips or refer you to an orthopedist for a second opinion.
To prepare you for your doctor’s visit, here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- Physical therapy to facilitate ease of movement and avoid stiffness
- Over-the-counter or prescription medication to manage physical discomfort
- Potential topical treatments, which may include Hemp Oil in various forms, such as tinctures, balms, salves, and lotions
Other and more extreme measures, like cortisone injections or joint replacements, are recommended at later stages in life. However, you’ll want to avoid too many cortisone injections within a short space of time. The build-up of residue from those injections can damage the remaining cartilage.
In Your 50s: Listen Closely to Your Body
At this point in life, your joints will potentially begin to stiffen and wear down. That’s natural, but it’s important to know that you can take some steps to safeguard your joint health at this age. All the above tips, of course, still apply here. Exercise, a healthy diet, and regular check-ins with your doctor remain critical. But, beyond these basic tips, it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you.
Consider your exercise routine, as an example. It’s normal for your muscles to be a bit sore after you exercise. If your joints begin to hurt, however, that may be a problem. As sports medicine physician Dr. Dominic King of the Cleveland Clinic puts it:
“If you get sore after exercise in a way that makes sense for the activity you did, and the soreness easily goes away, you’re probably OK. But if you develop joint pain, it’s your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.”
At that point, you may need to change your exercise routine. Weight training still matters, as we’ll detail below. However, impact-heavy activities, like running or competitive athletics, can pose a problem. Dr. Alexander McLawhorn at Stamford Health recommends low-impact activities like yoga and cycling to keep those joints active and muscles strong without damaging them.
The same is true even with daily movements. A bit of stiffness after sitting down for a long time is normal at this age. If, however, you get stiff after sitting down for just a few minutes, you may need to talk to a doctor.
In Your 60s: Eliminate Unhealthy Habits
At this stage in your life, taking care of your joints is critical. If you want to safeguard your joints, be sure to form healthy habits that provide physical relief. A few of those habits, as described by the Cleveland Clinic, include:
- Smoking cessation, which you absolutely need to quit to keep your joints healthy. Smoking can increase inflammation in your body and make it harder to recover from injuries. Smoking cessation may be a challenge, but it’s absolutely vital if you want to safeguard your joints.
- Healthy hydration, including the replacement of soda with water. Your body’s joint cartilage is 80% water, and if you’re not hydrated, your body will pull from that storage, which will damage your joints over time.
- Healthy eating, as we’ve previously mentioned. The Cleveland Clinic recommends a Mediterranean diet, which consists of plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to reduce physical discomfort.
- Mindful exercise, including a thorough warm-up and cool-down routine. Without stretching your muscles or joints for at least five minutes, you may overtax them and get yourself in trouble.
The above steps aren’t easy. By this age, you’re pretty well set in your routines. Still, eliminating unhealthy habits can help you safeguard your joints as you transition into your 70s.
In Your 70s: Strengthen those Muscles, but Pace Yourself
In your 70s, you may experience stiffness in your joints. The cartilage that has supported them for most of your life has begun to wear down. First, it’s important to realize that this is absolutely normal and not a sign of bad health. Still, you can do something about it.
As pointed out by the AARP, a few extra pounds can actually be a good thing at this age. The organization cites an Australian study showing that a little extra weight can help you live longer. That weight, of course, has to be carefully managed.
Most importantly, it needs to consist of muscles instead of fat. Being severely overweight is still an issue and will put extra pressure on your joints. Note that, each extra pound you carry translates into four pounds of extra pressure on your joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, 90% of those with knee OA (osteoarthritis) struggle with obesity.
In addition, your joints may become increasingly stiff as their water content drops by as much as 55%. You become more injury prone, and your bones become more brittle.
Careful muscle building is the single best way to protect your joints at this age. Talk to an expert about the kinds of exercises you can do to safeguard your joints without overtaxing your body or increasing your risk of injuries.
In Your 80s: Talk to Your Doctor About Potential Treatments to Safeguard Your Joints
As you reach the golden years, joint pain may be inevitable. While a healthy diet still matters, safeguarding your joints is less about exercising (which becomes more difficult) and more about managing pain and staying limber.
Your doctor will have the best medical advice on how to accomplish that. They’ll likely avoid prescribing pain-killing medication unless absolutely necessary. Instead, they’re likely to recommend light physical therapy and topical treatments.
One option to look into at this stage, if you haven’t already, is Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil. Tinctures and topical treatments are non-invasive and offer many natural benefits. Talk to your doctor about your options, and educate yourself about how to stay pain-free and limber.
Leverage Synchronicity™ to Safeguard Your Joints as You Age
Joint care is a topic that’s always relevant, no matter your age. In your 20s, you may not think about it much — but the actions you take can make a significant difference later. By the time you reach your 80s, you have to make sure that you get the right treatments to manage your pain and continue moving around.
Regardless of what stage or decade you’re in, it always makes sense to make good choices about diet, exercise, supplements, and topical solutions.
Our joints may change over time, but the underlying science of what they need to support the body typically doesn’t. Follow a plan, and talk to medical professionals to continue protecting your joints as you age.
As part of that journey, you may want to consider adding Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil to your daily regime. Available in many forms, from tinctures to balms, its potential benefits are increasingly backed by science. In 2019, the National Institutes of Health received research grants to study the analgesic properties of the more than 110 cannabinoids and 120 terpenes in the hemp plant.
So, don’t wait: start by informing yourself about the facts and myths about Hemp Oil. Then, browse potential solutions in our product line. And of course, you can always contact us for questions and more information about the relationship between joint care and Hemp Oil.