Do you know that your knees support up to 80% of your weight when you stand and absorb up to 1.5 times your body weight when you walk? Knees are incredibly powerful and can withstand vast amounts of pressure. However, that does not mean that they are foolproof. The constant stress that they are usually subjected to and constant wear and tear make them vulnerable to damage that can lead to conditions such as arthritis. One of the ways people damage their knees is when they are performing their exercises. Knees are usually put under a lot of stress during exercise and are thus prone to injuries. Therefore, you need to be very careful when performing your exercises to avoid damaging your knees. In this article, we will give you tips on how to save your knees during exercise.
Always warm up before you start your exercises
One of the ways to protect your knees during exercise is by performing a warm-up before you start your exercise. Warm-up is very important because it helps to stretch your joints and muscles thus making them ready for more intense movements. If you start working out without preparing your body, then you make your knees vulnerable to damage. So before running for 5 miles or lifting heavy weights, make sure you spend the first 10 minutes warming up your body.
Warming up is not just about touching your toes, it is about doing dynamic stretches to get your muscles and joints more stimulated and excited. Recommended warm-up exercises include arm reach, side reach, knee lift, hip rotations, lateral lunge with balance, squat with reach, and jumping jack. A proper warm-up will prepare your muscles and joints for peak performance. However, it is also important to know your body’s limits when performing warm-up exercises. Don’t push your body into doing things that it cannot handle.
Avoid weight machine
Most people today prefer using weight machines because they are quite safe and easy to use. However, what most people don’t know is that weight machines usually limit your movements and can cause joint pain if used for an extended period. Weight machines usually limit certain muscles from helping your body lift the weight leading to pain and knee inflammation over time. Weight machines should only be used by beginners and for a limited period. You should later switch to lifting weights naturally and functionally. Natural straight-based movements like wall sit, hip bridges, and step-ups will help to save your knees while performing your exercises.
Perform exercises that are gentle on your knees
Not all exercises are good for your knee health. In fact, some exercises can do more harm than good to your knees. For instance, using machines at the gym and performing exercises like deep squats, full deep lunges, and hurdle stretches can damage your knees because they pile excessive pressure on the joints. If you plan to perform high-impact exercises like plyometrics or running, then you need to ensure that you are not overweight to minimize piling more stress to your knees. If you are overweight and your goal is to exercise to lose weight, then you should avoid doing high-impact exercises because they will damage your knees. Instead, you should perform exercises that are good at burning calories but gentle on your knees such as swimming, rowing, and skiing.
Use low-impact workout machines
Another great way to save your knee during exercise is by using low-impact workout machines like a rowing machine, elliptical trainer, and recumbent bike. These workout machines are good for your knee because they provide smoother motions that have less impact on your joints. Studies have also shown that exercising on low-impact workout machines like an elliptical trainer can help to increase blood flow to the knee cartilage as well as strengthen the muscles around your knee thus enhancing your knee health.
Perform a wide variety of exercise
The reason why many people get knee injuries while performing their exercises is that they only perform specific workouts. If your workout routine only consists of the same exercises, then you are more likely to suffer from knee pain. This is because performing the same exercises day in and day out puts a lot of stress on your joints thus increasing the chances of knee injuries. If you want to save your knee during exercise, then you need to incorporate a wide variety of exercises into your workout routine. This way, you will be able to target different muscle groups instead of just one or two. Alternating your exercises will prevent you from overusing your knee joints thus protecting you from joint injuries.
Wear the right shoes
The importance of wearing the right shoes while working cannot be overemphasized. If you want to save your knees, then you need to wear high-quality shoes that provide sufficient support and stability to your joints. A good shoe should be lightweight and flexible to prevent stiffness while working out. It should also be comfortable and have a shock absorber on the soles to protect your knees from the high impact.
Exercise all muscles around your knees
Most people usually focus on exercising knee joint muscles and forget about the surrounding muscles. Your knee joint health is largely affected by the surrounding muscles. If the muscles that surround the knee are weak, then your keen joint health will be compromised. So, when performing your workouts, ensure that you exercise all muscles surrounding the knees, including hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and glutes.
When the muscles surrounding the knees are strong, then you will not overburden the connective tissue and knee joint bone while performing your workouts. The impact will be shared by all muscles surrounding the knee joint and that will prevent them from straining. Some of the exercises that can help to strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee joints include lunges and squats. Consult your orthopedic for guidelines on exercises to perform to support muscles around your knee joint.