Your knees are one of the most important joints in your body, enabling you to run, walk, dance, sit, stand and more. However, they are also one of the most vulnerable to strain and injury – no surprise, really, given the loads they have to bear each and every day (they support your body’s entire weight)! Fortunately, there are many ways you can lessen knee strain in your day to day life, and thus prevent the occurrence of knee injuries – and the worsening of existing conditions. Read on below to find out how!
Perhaps the best way to lessen knee strain and prevent knee injuries is to learn about your own body and listen to what it is telling you. For example, if you already have a condition affecting your knee joint – like arthritis – then doing high-impact exercises like volleyball, or running on the hard concrete surface, is probably not the wisest option! You should instead confine yourself to low impact exercises, walking, swimming, pilates, etc.
Here are a few other pointers …
Watch your weight: when you carry around excessive kilos, this places additional daily stress and strain on your knee joints, in turn making you a lot more susceptible to knee injuries and even degenerative knee conditions like osteoarthritis. So watch your weight! Exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy diet are the best means of keeping your waist from expanding
Maintain a healthy diet: not only will this help you lose weight, it will also ensure you get the vitamins and minerals your knees – as well as the supporting ligaments and tendons – need to remain strong.
Consider taking a good multivitamin: if you can’t get all the essential vitamins and minerals you need from your diet – far from uncommon given the fast-paced, busy lifestyles we lead today – then consider taking a good vitamin supplement. Fish oil, glucosamine, B vitamins are just some of the options here.
Practise good ergonomics: maintain the proper posture when standing and sitting, and you will reduce the daily strain to your knees. Indeed, given the sedentary, office-bound lifestyles many of us lead today, this is super important.
Get into good exercise habits/routine: maintain a regular exercise schedule, not only to build up the strength in your knees and supporting muscles – but also because a sudden increase or decrease in your activity makes you more prone to injury. Let your body adjust to alterations in your activity levels GRADUALLY.
Warm up properly before exercising: here’s another one. Before starting your daily exercise regimen, be sure to warm up properly. Properly stretch your thigh muscles (the quadriceps at the front, hamstrings at the back), in particular, as this will ease tension and tightness in the tendons and muscles supporting your knees, making them less vulnerable to sprains and strains.
Opt for low-impact exercises: if you want to avoid excess strain to your knees, then it might be a good idea to avoid high impact exercises. Going for a daily run on rock hard concrete will not do your knees any favors over the long run. Opt instead for walking, swimming, rowing – there are loads of options out there. This advice is especially important if you already have knee problems
Lift weights: by building up your leg muscles, this will provide greater support to your knees, and reduce the risks of acquiring a knee injury. Go and do some research into what weights and sequences you should focus on if you want to make your knees strong.
Wear proper shoes!: This one is easily overlooked, but it is clear that wearing proper shoes that have the correct fit, will better allow you to maintain proper leg alignment and balance, and thus prevent the incidence of injury to your knee.
Avoid certain kinds of movement: for instance, bending the knees so that they extend beyond your toes – this puts huge pressure on and below your kneecaps and is a great way of doing damage to that region. Again, learn about your body, it’s proper range of motion, and what movements it is and isn’t designed to perform.
These are all relatively straightforward measures, yet many people neglect them and as a result place far more strain on their knees than is necessary. Follow these tips in your daily life, though, and you will greatly extend your knees’ longevity, AND avoid crippling, disabling knee injuries that prevent you from enjoying the activities you love.