How to Take Care of Our Knees

Different exercises to strengthen the knees. (photo credit from http://www.whyiexercise.com/)

Getting weak in the knees lately? We often associate such instances to having very intense emotions, but having weak knees is actually more physical. Our knees aren’t just the largest joints in our body, they’re also very complex. They can bend in different directions. They can rotates. They support nearly one’s entire’s weight when we stand up and when walk.  They let us squat to pick up a dropped pen. We can kneel on the floor without  feeling any pain.

Because of all the ways the knees can move, they’re easily prone to injury and degeneration (unless you’re the type who stay in bed all day and don’t move at all, but let’s face it, even in the bedroom, you kinda’ have those “moves” you can’t avoid). A damaged knee can compromise your ability to enjoy the fullest benefit you can get from an exercise and you also compromise your chances of having a vital and satisfying old age.

Now is the time to start taking care of your knees if you want to stay active in your later years.

Don’t ignore any pain in the your knees. Earlier injuries could have could have been repaired themselves, but ignoring it can be the start degeneration that could lead to further injuries in the future. Knee pains can be because of  exercising improperly or too strenuously, so you have to address what’s causing the pain. As soon as you feel any pain, apply ice packs to your knees to help keep reduce any pain and swelling but be sure to consult your doctor immediately.

Treat knee injuries as soon as you can and give it time to rest before going active again. Give your knees ample time to recuperate before becoming very active again. Just because you’ve stopped limping or just because the joints no longer appear swollen doesn’t mean that they have completely healed. The rest and rehabilitation period after a knee injury is critical to avoiding future pain or reinjury.” If you can’t bear the thought of not moving or not exercising, do low impact activities such as swimming, to lessen the amount of jarring on your knees.  Avoid running or jogging especially on hard pavements, playing tennis on concrete, and doing other activities that place lots of stress on the knees, like vigorous dancing, aerobics and jumping rope.

Manage your weight. Being overweight puts more strain on your bones and joints. Every excess pound of your normal weight puts three or four additional pounds of pressure on your knee every time you take a step, degrading the cartilage in your knee more quickly which can, in later years, result to arthritis.

Develop the muscles surrounding the knees.Strengthen the muscles around the knees, particularly quadriceps and hamstrings, and even the core muscles – obliques, lower back and upper thigh. These muscles are shock and impact absorbers, and they can protect the joint surfaces in the knee. Keep them strong and flexible by doing exercises such as knee extensions, hamstring curls, leg presses, and flexibility exercises. You can do plié squats and side leg lifts for you inner and outer thigh muscles.  Stronger leg muscles have helped a lot of people who thought their knees might be going bad.

Stretch your muscles before and after every exercise. Like cold muscles, tight muscles are more likely to cause injuries. Stretch all the leg muscles in your thighs and lower legs – every last one of them has an impact on your knees. Don’t overstretch, though. Never push or pull on your leg with your hands while you are stretching, and avoid squatting during your warm-up, which can put stress on your knee joint. Keep your limbs flexible and that will lessen the chances of injury.

Use proper shoes It’s amazing what a difference a good pair of shoes can make – your legs will feel so much better. Different type of activities require different types of shoes, but since most of us can’t buy all the different types for each activity, buying cross trainers would be the best option. They can be used with low and high impact activities. Use special inserts, such as arch supports, if you need them. Well-cushioned, well-fitting athletic shoes can not only reduce reduce the impact of the load exerted on the knees, they’ll also enhance your enjoyment of doing the exercise itself.

Different exercises to strengthen the knees. (photo credit from http://www.whyiexercise.com/)

Know yourself. Don’t assume you can play yourself into shape. Make sure you are really in good physical condition before doing anything.

Web References:

http://www.thirdage.com/arthritis/8-ways-take-care-your-knees

http://www.factoryfitnessblog.com/2011/06/06/knee-pain-what-does-it-mean/

http://www.allspiritfitness.com/library/features/aa111702b.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knee