Exercise: Most people have little appreciation for how powerful low-impact exercise can be in supporting joint function. Vigorous low-impact exercise like walking is beneficial for your joints, as well as for cardiovascular, pulmonary, and other systems in your body. It’s simply a myth that you can “wear down” your knees just from average levels of exercise or normal activity. In fact, inactivity causes your muscles to become weaker and actually works against optimal joint flexibility and comfort.

Achieve your optimal weight: One of the outstanding benefits of exercise is its ability to help you achieve and maintain your ideal weight which is highly beneficial to your joints. Each additional pound of body mass increases the compressive load over your knee by roughly 4 pounds. Losing weight reduces the load on your joints and makes it easier to exercise, and exercising helps you lose weight and supports your joint health.

Eat a higher quality diet: Eliminate sugar and starchy carbs from your diet. And definitely stop drinking soda. These foods do absolutely nothing to support healthy joints or a healthy body. In fact, their potential for damage is well documented.

Optimize your vitamin D levels: Vitamin D also supports a healthy immune response. During the fall, winter, and early spring in most of the U.S., Canada, and Europe, your vitamin D levels can drop precipitously. If your levels fall, you give up the support this vitamin offers for your joints and your whole body.