The knees are among the most vulnerable joints of the human body. This vulnerability mostly stems from frequent use as we constantly engage them daily when walking and exercising. Vulnerable to wear and tear, the knees can be prone to pain and injury if we don’t take measures to protect them before exercising. With that said, here are some tips for maintain healthy knees:
Invest In a Knee Support Brace
If you really want to protect your knees when you exercise, investing in a knee support brace is an excellent idea. These braces will surround and support your kneecaps by applying pressure at the right places around the knee. These can both protect knees and prevent injuries, and they can also act as vital support after a knee has been injured. Choose something in a breathable, washable fabric for the best results.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Putting on excess weight is not only unhealthy for your heart and other major organs, it also puts unnecessary pressure on your knees. Even putting on a few extra pounds can pile on the pressure on your knees when it comes to doing routine activities like walking or climbing stairs. The good news is this can be reversed by simply losing the weight.
Weight training is also a good way to strengthen your knees, and there are several low impact exercise machines in the gym that will engage your knees and keep them strong, making them less prone to injury.
Engage in Strengthening and Flexibility Exercise
Engaging in exercises that improve strength and flexibility is one of the surest ways to prevent the common causes of knee injuries. Strengthening exercises engage your hamstrings and quadriceps. Strengthening them will reduce stress and aid your knees in absorbing shock. Flexibility exercises stretch the muscles that support your knees, while strengthening them in the process. Gentle stretches improve flexibility and reduce soreness, while vigorous stretching can cause pain and muscle tightening.
Exercises like walking or swimming can strengthen your knees; however, controlling your intensity level and alternating days with other exercises is good practice to avoid hurting yourself in the process. Things like swimming or water aerobics can be just as helpful and are low-impact compared to jogging, or playing a game of basketball.
Wear the Right Shoes
Your knees need plenty of cushioning from the impact caused by them slamming down on the pavement when you walk. This can only be provided by a pair of good quality shoes that has adequate support for the arches of your feet. Make sure you replace old running shoes regularly, and choose styles that have a thicker sole for more cushioning.
Watch Your Squats And Lunges
When doing these exercises, be very careful not to bend your knee more than the usual 90-degree angle. This means making sure your knee stays directly over your foot when doing lunges.
Reducing inflammation is part of keeping arthritis symptoms under control and improving your knee health. An anti-inflammatory diet involves avoiding foods that increase inflammation while including more foods that decrease inflammation.
Most people are not aware that smoking has a serious negative effect on your bones and knee.” Specifically, smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis and fracture. Smokers also have a higher risk of low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis. Stop smoking to improve bone and knee health.
Although people are encouraged to exercise and not to remain idle, having enough rest is also necessary to keep your knee healthy. Your knee joints are weight-bearing joints and they need rest to recuperate from too much stress. It is still important to get a complete night sleep to give your tired knees some rest.
Keeping your knees healthy and preventing injury starts with developing strong and flexible supportive muscles. A qualified physician can give you a customized exercise plan as well as specific tips to help keep your knees in good condition.