Most of us don't even think about our joints until they hurt. We go about our days and enjoy pain free movement doing whatever activity we choose. Then all of a sudden ... OW! Now what? Depending on the injury, you have a short or long term date with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Once you've fully healed you may quickly forget again about the importance of keeping your joints healthy. You may have been able to prevent the injury or at least recover quicker if you've followed a few simple steps to maintaining health, happy, pain free joints. 1) Move Rest and inactivity is the worst thing for your joints. They need to be exercised to maintain the strength of the muscles supporting the joint and its movement. When we are sedentary, our muscles, tendons and ligaments weaken. Then we decide to join a pick up game of hoops at a park or challenge our kids in a foot race and our joints oblige, but later on ... OW! Make time for 30-60 minutes a day of activity. Something fun that gets your whole body in motion. Your joints will be healthier and much more willing to jump into action for the next foot race. 2) Hydrate We know our body is mostly made up of water. The health of our joints vitally depend on hydration. Inside the joints is a soft tissue called cartilage that aids in cushioning the impact of movement. The cartilage is bathed in synovial fluid. This is fluid lubrication for your joints. It helps keep the cartilage slick and supple so it can take the punishment you dish out. When we do not drink enough water daily, the fluid movement and cushioning protection in our joints is decreased. This will lead to pain, swelling and eventually damage to the joint. Drink a minimum of 64oz of water per day. 3) Stretch Stretching our muscles helps keep them healthy and strong, but it also helps keep our joints healthy. When our muscles get tight, they restrict the joints range of motion. Tight muscles will lead to poor posture, decrease strength and poor joint health. Before your 30-60 minutes of activity go through a simple stretching routine to hit all the major muscle groups. Full range of motion for your joints will keep your joints happy and healthy. 4) Protein Eating protein provides our body with a supply of amino acids. These are the building blocks our body uses to repair muscle tissue. Taking proper care of our muscles so they recover from exercise will keep them from having an imbalance that can stress a joint. 5) Supplement Dietary supplements have discovered new ingredients and technologies that specifically target the health of our joints. The right supplements make an incredible improvement in joint health and how you feel. UCII is a patented collagen that specifically helps the body repair damaged cartilage. Remember those shock absorbers in your joints? When those are worn or damaged ... OW! Hyaluronic Acid is part of the synovial fluid in your joints. Remember that lubricating fluid that keeps everything smooth? Having hyaluronic acid in your daily diet will help keep joints moving smoothly. Boswellia is an ancient herb that is used to reduce inflammation. Boron is an important mineral in keeping our bones strong. It's commonly overlooked. Keeping strong bones is vital to maintaining healthy joints. Use it or lose it is a very fitting phrase when it comes to joint health. Not experiencing joint pain yet? Preventative medicine is the best medicine. Don't wait until you have ... "OW!" before incorporating these five things and Motion to your daily supplements!