Certain things age well like cheese, wine, and your favorite pair of jeans. However, our knees are not one of those things. Our knees are a part of our body that we utilize everyday, and oftentimes these joints get worn down the hardest. One of the best ways to alleviate knee pain is to simply get moving, but this can be difficult when knowing what types of exercises are better or worse for our knees. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best and worst types of exercises that you can implement or avoid in your daily life.
First off, it’s important to look at why we may be experiencing knee pain. While joint pain is most often associated with age, knee pain can strike anyone at any age. The kneecap is designed to slide smoothly along a groove within the femur. However that is not always the case, if the knee cap goes off that track, which it can do frequently, it can grind away at the cartilage underneath which destabilizes the knee. This can then ensure the wear and tear that can lead to many painful problems that are most often fixed by a knee replacement surgery.
If you want to keep your knees healthy, there are a multitude of things you can do. Primarily, you’re going to want to strengthen the vastus medialis, which is the inner quad muscle. Many physical therapists agree that exercises that strengthen this muscle are one of the keys in the rehabilitation of the knee.The quadricep is a large muscle located at the top of your leg. This muscle is a group of four muscles that attach to various parts in the leg. This muscle group is also one of the strongest muscles in a person’s body, regardless if they purposely strengthen it or not. So it makes sense that this muscle could easily pull at the knee cap.
Yoga is a great way to help tone your body without putting any extra strain on your muscles and joints. It allows for stretching and strengthening of the joint. Many yoga poses focus on using a person’s natural body weight in order to strengthen the body. Yoga also tends to go at a slower pace allowing for the person to fully focus on engaging the various parts of their body. This allows for better stabilization, which is one of the key aspects you want to focus on if you’re struggling with knee pain. Some classes are also heated, which helps keep your muscles warm and flexible, which can make you less susceptible to injury. Yoga emphasizes proper alignment within its poses, which teaches your body the correct position to be in order to allow the different parts of your body to work harmoniously together.
Swimming is a great low impact exercise to incorporate if you have bad knees. Different than weight-bearing activities that place stress on your knees as a result of hitting a hard surface, swimming allows you to move without that harsh pressure. Many people can also exercise for longer periods of time in water without feeling the effects of strain on the joints. When you swim, about 90% of your body weight is supported by the water. Swimming is a great way to help tone and strengthen various muscles, especially in the legs, without harsh impact.
Anytype of cycling is another option for people who experience knee pain. The routine movement of cycling helps keeps your knees moving through the range of motion, while strengthening the supporting muscles. One great aspect of cycling is that it can be done virtually anywhere. There are so many forms of this exercise that are available at a variety of price ranges. If you’re more of an outdoorsy person, mountain biking or even riding your bike around a park is a great option. There are also many gyms and cycling studios that offer cycling classes at different levels, so you can pick how hard or strenuous your workout is. Most cycling studios even offer you your first class free of charge, which is awesome!
As always, whenever you decide to take on a new type of exercise consult with your doctor first. Both injuries and exercise are very personal things, and what works for someone may not work for you.
Exercises to Avoid
Keep in mind that the following list of exercises and styles can be done safely with knee problems if they are done properly. However, many people tend to do these types of exercises improperly leading to injury.
If squatting hurts your knees, and it is not due to a pre-existing injury, it is probably because you’re making your knees do more of the work than your hips. Learning how to utilize the hips and glutes during this exercise will help alleviate some of the pain you may feel in your knees. Your knees may also be hurting due to the amount of weight you are placing on them. If you’re experiencing pain, try doing squats with limited or no weight at all. Placing higher amounts of weight can cause an individual to sacrifice their form and placement, which can then lead to injury.
Running is one of the main culprits of knee pain, as well as a type of exercise many people avoid because of it. Running can lead to a multitude of knee problems such as:
- Generalized knee pain
- Patellofemoral malailignment
- Chondromalacia patella
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Runner’s knee
Knee pain due to running can be related to poor form and lack of core strength. It can also be related to the fact that many people ignore pain that comes from running, which just makes issues worse.
Lunging can pose the same risks that deep squatting can. Lunges can be a great way to improve overall leg and hip strength, but it can also cause amounts of pain when done incorrectly. Pain from lunges can be related back to a lack of hip strength. If your hips are weak, your knee can push out farther past your toes due to the fact that your hips aren’t strong enough to keep that muscle in line. This then leads to added pressure on the knee joint. Similar to squats, if you are adding a heavy amount of weight onto your body while doing the exercise it can cause pain as well. Try starting out with just your body weight and focus on the proper form and alignment of this exercise. Once you’ve mastered that you can add more gradual weight.
At Fitness Specialist located in both Odessa and Lubbock Texas, we are here for all your fitness equipment needs. We sell all sorts of equipment that will allow you to still enjoy exercising while also protecting your joints. If you’re looking to purchase fitness equipment, our experienced employees will help you find the right type of equipment for you. Visit us in store or contact us today at 432-550-6664.