Your Knees’ Needs
Knee injuries and pain are common enough that fitness instructors and trainers develop exercises designed to baby the knees. You can prevent your own knee injuries by exercising correctly and building the muscles that support the joints and keep them flexible.
The causes of knee pain are relatively straightforward: They are due to either an acute injury or stressful repetitive motion over time. Sure, age can take its toll on knees from regular repetitive motion, but incorrectly managed workouts can often cause knee pain or an acute injury in younger people too.
Stay flexible, my friend
Improving flexibility in your hip and thigh muscles is the first step toward preventing knee injuries. These muscles include the glutes and hip adductors, plus the knee flexors and extensors. Many experts also recommend strengthening lower-leg muscles in the ankle too. Take note of the following tips for best results:
1. Warm up before exercising, working until you break a sweat.
2. Then stretch each muscle group 2-3 times.
3. Use weight machines or resistance bands to focus on each muscle group.
4. Perform 8-10 reps, building from one set to three sets, with 20-40 seconds of rest between each set.
5. Focus your energy on performing the exercises properly, not on great weight endurance.
6. If you don’t have access to weight machines or resistance bands, perform squats, wall squats or lunges to work multiple muscle groups. Be sure your form is correct.
7. After working out, stretch again as part of your cool-down.
Don’t overdo it
Simple everyday tasks can become movement opportunities: Cleaning the house, walking the dog, raking, ironing and window cleaning. Break up the time into shorter increments to get the 30 minutes or an hour you need.
Tee up More Sports
Whether you walk, run, play tennis or are on a soccer team, be sure the activity fits your fitness level and injury history. If you have an old knee injury, for example, consider a non-weight-bearing workout like swimming or cycling. Whatever you choose, be sure you avoid injury by performing with the correct form and technique. And as you exercise, build slowly to your goals. Never over-train no matter what you choose. Then again, don’t decrease your activity because that will lead to muscle weakness and potential injury. Think of exercising with knee pain as a balancing act you perform every time you work out.
Sports & Fitness
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