11 Reasons to Protect Your Joints in Your 20s and 30s

11 Reasons You Should Start Protecting Your Joints in Your 20s and 30s

by Rebecca Pudvah PT, DPT, CSCS, OCSLeave a Comment

With balance and strength declining as we age, often after the mid-50s, you may think that you don’t need to worry about improving these skills until much later in life. The truth is that maintaining physical fitness throughout your 20s and 30s comes with a number of benefits that can help set you up for better overall health long-term. Let’s take a look at a few key reasons why it’s never too early to start prioritizing your joint health.

1. Prevent long-term injury – There are some inherent instabilities in the human body design, so it is important to maintain good strength, stability, and posture to avoid any overuse or wear and tear injuries. Gentle core, hip, and shoulder strengthening can make a dramatic impact on your ability to maintain good form during the activities of your daily life.

2. Stay active for our children – Although babies may only weigh 5-12lbs at birth, these little ones can be up to 45 pounds before they do not need to be carried through the world. If you do not have a strong base of support, the frequent lifting and carrying can lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain.

3. Avoid work injuries – If you rely on your job to “keep you strong,” you may have significant muscle imbalances leading to more complicated work injuries. This can lead to time and income lost due to pain and medical treatment. Remember to stretch, warm up before heavy lifting, and stay hydrated throughout your workday.

4. Reduce headaches and other aches and pains – In the physical therapy world, we talk about “Pre-hab,” or a form of physiotherapy that conditions the body to help it heal quicker after surgery, speed up recovery processes, and prevent injuries from occurring. Any exercise routine, whether it is Zumba, Yoga, or even a spin class, can help prepare your body for future challenges. Often, a lack of strength or imbalance of strength and flexibility brings patients to physical therapy in the first place. Check out your local fitness center and join a workout class today to help beat these aches and pains before they start.

5. Reduce fall risk – Strength and stability go hand in hand. The stronger and more stable your legs and core become, the less likely you are to fall. Tripping over pets, slipping on ice, and losing your sandal on the sidewalk are not age-specific and can happen to anyone anytime. Be prepared, get fit, and avoid the fall.

6. Avoid weekend warrior injuries – Most individuals in their 20s-30s spend >45 hours per week working, and it is not until the weekend that they can engage in physical activity. Those individuals who wait until their free time to engage in physical activity are at much greater risk for injury due to the lack of base fitness. A simple bodyweight strengthening routine performed 2-3x a week can help prevent unnecessary injuries during weekend play.

7. Mental Health – Mental and physical health can greatly impact our quality and quantity of life. Breaking your daily work routine up with a brief or a steady walk outdoors can help with both. Gentle exercise helps promote the release of endorphins which can boost your mood. Give it a try!

8. Maintain Accessibility – Whether walking up a flight of stars with moving boxes, walking through wet gravel trails with an umbrella, or navigating uneven sidewalks with heavy groceries, it is important to have the strength and stability to control your body weight in a variety of different conditions. Participating in a routine workout or sports program can help promote greater body awareness and control to prevent undue injury.

9. Preserve socialization – Without your mobility, it is challenging to go out to dinner with friends, go mini golfing, or even walk the beach. Engaging in a regular fitness routine, whether a Youtube exercise program or old fashion VHS/DVD program, is important to maintain your fitness to prevent lost time with friends and family.

10. Fitness is fun – Group workout classes, team sports, and couples dance classes are a great way to stay fit and healthy, but they also highlight how fitness can be fun. Join a slow-pitch softball league or learn how to line dance to get yourself in tip-top shape.

11. Bounce back from illness – Whether it is the common cold, flu, or even COVID-19, we will likely end up bed or couch bound for a few days per year. Any prolonged sedentary behavior or illness can greatly impact our strength and endurance; however, if you have a strong foundation, it will be much easier to bounce back to your prior levels. A daily walking routine or gentle lifting routine can help build your musculoskeletal system and cardiovascular system up to help keep you strong during these challenging times.

It All Starts with Athletico

With all these benefits, there are many reasons you should start to protect and strengthen your joints in your younger years. If you have any health-related questions or experience any aches or pains, schedule a free assessment at an Athletico location near you. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.

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*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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About the Author:
Rebecca Pudvah is a triathlete and physical therapist who loves helping others achieve their fitness goals. Rebecca graduated from Simmons College in Boston, MA, with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She is an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. For her undergraduate studies, she attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology while competing in Division 1 Cross Country and Track and Field. Rebecca loves sharing her knowledge and personal experiences to help those in need through challenging and painful times. She is passionate about guiding her patients toward a healthy, active, and pain-free human experience.

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