Because some of the risk factors—such as heredity, age, and gender—are inevitable, preventing osteoarthritis (OA) completely might be impossible for some people. However, even if a person is predisposed to OA, there are lifestyle decisions he or she can make to reduce the risk of OA. And after the onset of OA, those same lifestyle factors can help keep symptoms to a minimum.

Exercise

Exercise is essential to slowing and preventing osteoarthritis. It maintains healthy joints, relieves stiffness, reduces pain and fatigue, and increases muscle and bone strength. Arthritis experts recommend low-impact exercises that involve aerobic activity, strength training, and stretching.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight puts undue stress on your joints and speed up the deterioration of joint cartilage. For those who have OA, excess weight can exacerbate the symptoms. Losing weight has been proven to reduce pain in legs and hips.

Diet

A diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will optimize nutrition and help you avoid excess weight that can increase the risk of developing OA or increase the severity of OA symptoms.There are also several foods that can help reduce the swelling and inflammation associated with OA.

Rest

While exercise can help develop healthy joints and muscles, excessive overuse of joints can increase the risk of developing OA. The key is balance. Also, for those who have OA, fatigue has been shown to increase pain. Make sure you get eight to 10 hours of sleep every night.