If your knees ache, exercise is your best medicine. There are multiple very useful exercises to help stabilize the joint and reduce the pain, as well as strengthen the ligaments and muscles supporting knee joints and lower chances of injury.
To truly benefit from these exercises, it is important to follow the instructions and techniques correctly.
#1 – Warm Ups
It is necessary to properly warm up before any exercise, and it’s even more important if you have bad knees. When you warm up before exercise, you improve your blood to that area which reduces muscle stiffness, making exercise easy and minimizing chances of muscle sprains or injury.
Before starting your knee exercises, make sure to warm up by doing some static stretches or brisk walking for about 20 minutes, in order to prepare your knees and you body for more arduous exercise routines.
#2 – Swimming
This is among the best exercises for people with bad knees. When you are swimming, the gravity’s impact is out of the equation giving you lesser chances of damage to your painful joint.
In the pool, you can do a few laps to strengthen your knees. Actually all swimming styles are beneficial for knees, but it is possible that a certain style can hurt your knees, so that must be avoided. An average of 20 minutes of swimming should be enough.
#3 – Cycling
When you are cycling, your are using your hamstrings and calve muscles. Cycling helps to stable the knees and put very less strain on the joints, as it’s also a very effective way to lose weight. In case you have recently had knee joint surgery, you must take things very slowly.
Don’t start cycling until you get clearance from your physiotherapist. It’s best for you to cycle on a flat surface or do your cycling exercises in the gym, and avoid steep or hilly areas in order to protect your knees from injury.
#4 – Walking
During a brisk walk, all your upper and lower body muscles get a complete workout. Jogging and running can have higher impact and put a strain on your knees, however walking on even ground can be most beneficial for your knees.
In case your knee joints are in a very bad condition, you should start with a simple and not very quick walk, and then gradually build up muscle strength. After regular exercise, you will be able to take hikes or even go running.
#5 – Step-Ups
Step-up routines generally reinforce the major muscles that are supporting knee joints. In order to perform this exercise, you have to follow these 4 instructions 😮 Stand in front of a stair case, or else you can use a small bench.
o Place one foot firmly on the step.o Move the other foot and put it on the step, and then again on the floor. Repeat it for 10 times with each foot. o To add more resistance, you can do some curls with weight during the step ups.
#6 – Partial Squats
If your knees are in a bad shape, it is not recommended to do full squats. It is best to go for partial squats because they don’t put as much strain on the knees. You may consider wearing a knee support for more protection.
o Stand with your feet at shoulder width, and your toes pointing forward. o Lower your body as low as you are comfortable with, and make sure to keep your knees behind your toes during a squat. o Go back to resting position and repeat.
#7 – Calf Raises
Calf raises, also called toe raises, are highly effective for your lower legs muscles. o Stand normally on a flat surface, while making sure that you’re standing straight and then firmly place your feet on the ground. o Now lift your body upwards until you’re standing on your toes. After few seconds, go back to starting positions. Repeat 20 or 25 times.
#8 – Scissor Kicks
o Lie flat on a mat. Lift both your legs and shoulders while making sure they don’t touch the ground all along the exercise. o Place your shoulder an inch above the ground and your legs for about six inches.
o Spread your legs apart as far as you can, and bring them closer while crossing one over the other. o Do not bend your knees and keep your arms on the mat.o You can start with 10 reps and then gradually increase the number up to 50.
#9 – Take a Dance Class
A dance class is the most fun way to make your knee joints stronger. All dance styles are beneficial for your aching knees, and you can later stick to the style which you find most comfortable.
The best part of a dance class is the initial dance moves, which are amazing warm-up exercises. Besides, you can get a full body workout during a dance routine.
#10 – Side-Lying Leg Lifts
o Lie on your side. Keep your legs straight together and support your head with your arm.o When lying on the left side, lift your right leg up, then bring it back and repeat. o Do the same with your left leg. You can wear some ankle weights for max benefits.
#11 – Inner Thigh Leg Lifts
o If you’re lying on your right side, keep your left leg straight and bend your right leg. o Now lift your right leg for about 6 inches, and bring it back. Do 10 to 15 repeats. o Do the same with your right leg.
Exercises to Avoid
As there are useful exercises, there are also very harmful ones that can worsen your knees condition. These are the exercises you should avoid to protect your knees from more damage 😮 Jumping, skiing, snowboarding or any high-impact activity.
o Basketball, soccer, rugby, tennis or any sport where there is a chance of twisting your knee.o Stair climbing exercises. If you have any doubts or problems, talk to your physiotherapist about modifying your exercises.
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