For those who enjoy an active lifestyle, preventing injury by prepping your muscles is key to enhancing performance and gaining the full benefits of exercise. Certain exercises like running, cycling, strength training, and others can result in tight or achy joints, especially if warming up and cooling down isn’t a part of your routine. Plus, knee and joint pain tend to worsen as we age, and specific exercises can go a long way towards alleviating it.
Be sure to consult a doctor or physical therapist if you have a severe injury before venturing into your exercises.
Using a stool or staircase, use one calf to bend your knee upwards, touching your toes. Repeat this about 10-15 times on each leg. This exercise helps increase balance, stretch your legs out, and improve joint mobility. Step-ups are convenient and simple, they are good for injury as you don’t put much pressure on your knee, and they can be amped by including weights.
Straight Leg Raises
While lying on your back, lift both legs above your knees and chest. Straighten one leg out and lift it down in front of you, switch legs, and repeat about 10 to 15 times on each. Straight leg raises help increase flexibility and improve hip mobility.
You can do hamstring curls standing, sitting, laying down, incorporated with equipment, or done on a curl machine at the gym. Bend your knees to the back of your glutes, repeat about 10-15 times on each leg. This exercise works the back of your thighs and knees while engaging your glutes and hamstrings to strengthen your upper thighs and improve knee support. In addition, this exercise helps prevent injury and promotes flexibility.
These are ideal exercises for runners to prevent knee injuries, but you can easily incorporate them into any exercise routine. Aside from helping to build glutes, core, and legs, this is an excellent exercise to prevent injuries in the knees and increase mobility. Prop yourself against a wall, bend with your knees shoulder-width apart, and slide down the wall. Hold for about 20-30 seconds and repeat about 10 times. Strengthen your muscles and add weights to increase the cardio level.
Double Knee to Chest
In a lying position, bring your knees to your chest and hold them together for about 20 seconds; repeat about 10 to 15 times. This is a lowkey exercise that stretches your legs and core while helping to prevent strain on the knees, increase flexibility in the joints, and relieve pressure on the spinal nerves by working your lower and mid-back muscles. If you want a deeper stretch, try one knee and alternate.
You can do hip abductions on a machine or at home. Lying down, bend your knees towards your chest and open up your knees, bring them back together back and forth while keeping your back on the ground. Repeat this about 10-15 times. This is an excellent exercise for sensitive knees, hip, and pelvic muscles to prevent injury.
Standing in a straight position, raise your heels and stand on your tiptoes. (You can position yourself near a wall if you need extra support or balance.) Repeat this about 10-15 times. These are excellent exercises to try if you have an ache in your knee, feel sore, or need to stretch out your calves and knees.
Did you know that experts often recommend swimming for knee arthritis patients? This low-impact exercise is easy on the knees and a good cardio workout that doesn’t require too much effort. Plus, swimming is excellent for joint fitness and flexibility.
These exercises can help alleviate knee pain, strains, and more. Just be sure to consider an expert opinion before trying them on your own!