"Your elderly loved ones' joints have been through a lot in their lives. They have spent decades supporting their muscles and going through the movements of life, taking on a tremendous amount of force and possibly sustaining injuries. It's important to keep their joints healthy and strong so they can experience less pain and stiffness, increase their mobility, and enjoy a more active, engaging quality of life.

Improper joint support can lead to a variety of health concerns and issues, including:

• Stiffness
• Pain
• Arthritis
• Loss of mobility
• Lack of range of motion
• Decreased flexibility
• Increased fall risk
• Greater susceptibility to injury after a fall
• Dislocations
• Sprains
• Strains
Fortunately there are many ways that you can support better joint health for your elderly loved ones so that they can reduce their risk of these problems and improve their overall health, well being, and quality of life.
Use these tips to help your parents build and maintain better joint health throughout their later years:

•  Focus on low-impact. High-impact exercises such as jogging can be highly effective at keeping off the pounds and strengthening the cardiovascular system, but they can also be extremely hard on your parents' joints. The impact causes repeated moments of intense force in the joints, breaking down the tissues and possibly leading to injury. Focus on low-impact exercises such as walking, stretching, yoga, Pilates, and using low-impact exercise machines such as elliptical machines or stationary bikes to keep the muscles and joints strong and burn calories without the force.

•  Control weight. The actual amount of force that your joints experience is several times your body weight, meaning that every pound you take off of your body removes a few pounds of force from your joints. This reduction in stress can add up to a considerable difference in the comfort and health of your parents' joints. Visit with their doctor to find out what their ideal weight is and to get recommendations for healthy strategies to lose excess pounds and keep them off.

•  Use healthy strategies. Encourage your parents to keep their joints in mind when they are doing normal activities throughout their day. Something as simple as bending their knees to pick something up rather than attempting to bend over and lift, or walking with a proper stride and roll-through of the foot can be extremely helpful in keeping their joints comfortable and healthy.

•  Eat well. While it is not as effective as exercise and proper body movements, eating certain foods has been linked to ongoing joint health. Foods that contain healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids are known to support the joints and keep them properly lubricated. Ask your parents' doctor about foods such as gelatin that may also help to nurture better joint health in conjunction with other care options."

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