There are a number of dietary supplements out there that promise to increase joint health. But the best way to improve or maintain the health of your joints is moderate exercise.

When most of us think of our joints, we are really thinking of the muscles surrounding the joint itself. These muscles must be strong and healthy to support the joint. But too much exercise—especially in sudden bursts, such as the “weekend warrior” who has a sedentary week and does too much on the weekend—can wear down your joints.

If the muscles supporting your joints become strained or sustain micro-tears, the whole support system is damaged and you are at greater risk for acute issues such as dislocation and for chronic diseases like arthritis.

The key word here is “moderate.” As in all things, practice listening to your body and stop before you feel any pain or ache in your joints. Work your way up gradually, and remember that some exercise is better than none. Try to set reasonable, achievable goals rather than “tough it out.”

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