(BPT) - Whether it's a brand-new Bentley or a classic 1970 Mustang, most people have a car they dream about. If they're lucky enough to own it someday, you better believe they're going to take care of it. Regular maintenance is an essential part of keeping a vehicle in tip-top shape. The same is true of the human body, particularly the joints.
"Prevention is the only thing that actually prolongs the health of your joints, similar to the care of a machine," says Matt Johnson, health and performance expert and president of On Target Living. "If you want something to last as long as possible, and to cost as little as possible over the long run, you have to do maintenance, checkups, and change the oil. Taking care of your body is no different. If you do, your joints can last until you're 80, 90, or even 100 without tendon or ligament issues."
Johnson notes that joint issues are some of the most common concerns he sees in his practice. These issues can happen at any age, although many start to manifest between the ages of 40 and 50, after years of wear and tear cause pain and inflammation.
Johnson's mantra: If you take care of the body it will take care of you. To help people of any age maintain joint health, he provides this four-point joint maintenance plan.
The first part of healing the joints is to rest the joints. Massage, meditation, light yoga, stretching, and cool baths are great ways to rest the joints. Additionally, quality sleep each night is essential. (Quick tip: Take an epsom salt bath once a week.)
2. Healing Nutrients
Studies show that omega-3 fats can help support joint health by limiting inflammation after exercise and boosting hormones that help the body heal. Take a daily, high-quality omega-3 supplement like Nordic Naturals that has been third-party tested for purity, and is known for its great, non-fishy taste.
Superfood herbs and spices help the body get maximum nutrients in minimal amounts. For example, curcumin and bromelain are both great for helping joint pain and repair. Remember, limited processing of the product is ideal for optimal absorption.
4. Exercise and body alignment
You can't have optimal joint function if the body is out of alignment. There are five key joint checkpoints: ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and neck. This is where you start to achieve perfect posture, after which you can focus on strengthening the large muscles.
"The best age is always now," says Johnson. "Start as soon as possible and think about it like you take care of a car or nice jewelry. Joints are meant to last as long as you live. The key is to take care of them with quality nutrition, normal exercise, and adequate rest."