Caring for Your Joints

Your musculoskeletal system consists of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, soft tissues, and cartilage. They work together to support your body’s weight, help you move, and maintain your posture. Aging and poor habits can lead to problems in your musculoskeletal system, however, what you do daily can impact your joint health and prevent pain and injuries.


  • Stay physically active. In addition to weight management, aerobic exercise allows fluid to push into the cartilage, helping to prevent stiffness in your joints. Try low-impact activities like walking, biking, or swimming.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts extra stress on the joints, especially the knees and hips. Focus on controlling your portion sizes and staying active.
  • Build muscle. Strength training helps build stronger muscles and ligaments taking pressure off your joints. Strong muscles also improve posture and balance. Make sure you work all the
    major muscle groups, including your core, at least two times per week.
  • Stay hydrated. Your body will start to take water from other sources, including cartilage, if you are not properly hydrated. Aim for 64 ounces of water every day.
  • Stretch. Tight muscles and joints can lead to strains and injury. Stretching and range of motion exercises help keep the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. The best time to stretch is when your muscles are warm, preferably after 10 minutes of activity. Engage in stretching and flexibility activities (yoga, Pilates, tai chi), at least 2 to 3 times per week.
  • Straighten up. Be mindful of your posture. Poor posture when sitting, standing, or lifting, can lead to strain or injury to your muscles and joints.
  • Veg out! Boost your cruciferous
    vegetable intake. Not only are they packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, but new research found that an antioxidant found in these vegetables block an enzyme that causes joint pain and inflammation. Aim for a half cup of a coniferous vegetable every day, such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, or kale.
  • Stand and move. Avoid sitting for the entirety of your workday. Take a movement break like walking or stretching every 30 to 60 minutes to prevent joint stiffness.
  • Protect yourself. When active, wear braces for aching or injured joints. Wear padding for activities like inline skating and contact sports.
About 1 in 4 U.S. adults have arthritis. Arthritis is a general term for conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues.
Implementing simple joint health tips can decrease your risk or improve the condition.