If the warmer weather is making you eager to get outside and be active, you’re not alone. This time of year, many people are re-focusing on some of their personal goals like living healthy, eating better, and losing some of those extra winter pounds.
Over the last several years the United States has seen an increase in obesity but we’ve also seen an increase in the number of knee and hip replacement surgeries. In fact, by 2030, total knee replacement surgeries are projected to grow 673 percent to roughly 3.5 million procedures per year.
While you may not think too much about joint pain and its connection to nutrition, understanding the connection may help you and your joints live a longer, healthier, happier life.
Here are four things to know about your weight and how it relates to joint health.
- For every pound of body weight there are four pounds of pressure at the knee and three pounds of pressure at the hip. For example, an increase of five pounds in your total body weight results in an extra 20 pounds of pressure on your knee and 15 pounds of pressure on your hip. Our bones and joints are meant to take a lot of pressure, but only to a point. Excessive weight means you wear your hips and knees out faster. We want to make sure we’re keeping our bones and joints strong, and reaching a natural, healthy weight will increase your bone and joint health.
- Motion is lotion. Most of us know how important being active is to our health, but did you know that being active will decrease stiffness and soreness, while increasing your mobility? Overall, the more you move, the better you feel. There’s a reason exercise is recommended by most healthcare providers.
- Move it or lose it. Movement is not only important for strength and mobility in our joints, but also for our overall bone health. The stress you apply to your bones during movement or exercise makes your bones stronger overall. Both vitamin D and calcium are also key building blocks for healthy bones.
- Reduce inflammation by eating well. Eat less foods that cause inflammation, such as refined, processed, high-sugar and high-fat products and eat more anti-inflammatory foods like vegetables, fruits, and heart-healthy fats found in things like salmon, nuts, and seeds.
As far as joint replacements go, your new joints will last longer if you’re healthy and active. You don’t necessarily need to lose a lot of weight before a joint replacement. Outcomes are best if you’re well-nourished before and right after your surgery. You can slowly work on losing weight after surgery.