When we really think about it, we use our knees a lot more than we know.
Every day, we are either using them to sit, walk, run, do exercises, and countless other movements with our legs. And depending on how we move, we put a surprising amount of pressure on our knees.
It’s unfortunate, but all the beating over the course of our life will eventually lead to our knees’ downfall, making exercising harder as we grow older.
Fortunately, there are exercises out there that help prevent knee pain as we age. Here are a few to get us started:
This is probably not a big surprise. Walking has been known to be one of the best exercises you can do for overall health and wellness.
It is an effective cardiovascular exercise that puts the least amount of stress on your joints, which makes it a great way to stay active, maintain proper weight, and to maintain your mobility as you get older.
Even just walking for 15 or 30 minutes a day around your neighborhood or park is good for your health. Walking is especially important if you have stiff knees, as being sedentary can make them worse. It can’t get any easier than this!
One of the best ways to keep your knees healthy is to strengthen the muscles around the joint, which ultimately reduces the stress on it and keeps you away from pain.
While you can do these on a leg lift machine at the gym, you can also do them anywhere using no weights. Lie on the floor and keeping your right leg on the floor, raise your left leg a foot or so off the floor.
Lower your left leg and repeat 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps, then repeat on the other side.
Similar to leg lifts, wall sits strengthen the quadriceps, glutes, and many of the other small muscle groups surrounding the knee joints, which in turn helps to keep them healthy over time.
Stand with your back up against a wall with your feet hip-distance apart. Slide your back down the wall, as if you were sitting in a chair, to go into a squat position.
The lower you sit, the more difficult the move—and the more pressure you might feel in your knees. Make sure that at your lowest point, your thighs are parallel with the floor, not lower.
Hold the squat for 30 seconds or until your muscles are too tired to continue.
Knee To Thigh Stretch
When it comes to knee health, it’s important to keep all of the leg muscles flexible, because they work in conjunction with the knees. I have a friend who plays a lot of volleyball, and her thighs used to be a lot stronger than her calves, which caused problems in her knees.
This stretch hits all of the major areas of the leg, knee, and lower back. Stretching regularly keeps your muscles pliable and ready to be used, which means they’re less likely to sprain or tear.
To do this stretch, first sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Then, bring your left foot toward your butt.
Drop your left knee out to the side as you place the sole of your left foot in your right inner thigh. Then, bend at the waist and slowly fold forward, reaching your hands toward your toes. Stay here for 1 to 2 minutes, and then switch sides.
As you age, the ligaments surrounding the knee joint become stiffer. This means they can’t deal with the stress placed on them as well as they once could, making you more prone to pain or injury.
To keep these ligaments more flexible, you need to work the knee joint in a safe way. Step-ups are a great way to do this. Set up a platform (you could use a low bench or even a stair) and place both feet on the platform.
Then, slowly lower the opposite foot to the floor, touching your toes to the ground, and then returning it to the platform. Repeat 10 to 12 times, and then switch sides.
What other exercises do you guys know that is good for you knees?