Knee pains have several causes. If you’re a long-distance runner, you’re probably going through your daily laps in poor form. You may be moving with your kneecaps wrong or stretching insufficiently.
Alleviating knee pain comes in many forms. Some try to add in knee-strengthening activities, like squatting or climbing, to their daily exercise regimen. Or any physical activity that can improve circulation and reduce pressure off the knees. Others go for less-demanding support systems, like muscle tapes.
The smarter ones, however, do exercises that help them strengthen different muscle groups in the leg in case their knees give in from too much pressure. Here are a few actionable tidbits for you to start taking care of your knees and provide them with the support they need.
Stretch and Regulate Your Exercises
Pay close attention to the exercises that you perform daily. You may think that they are helping your overall body, but they may not be doing the same to your joints.
When you start feeling pressure on your knees every time you start your workout and it doesn’t go away even after a few stretches, chances are you may have strained your knees. If the pain comes from a specific spot on your knees and feels like a dull but constant throbbing, you may need to consult a doctor for a possible injury.
If you’re not experiencing the latter scenario, then you could be having a tension ache. This happens a lot, especially to those who are just starting on a new workout or set of exercise.
Remember that your knees thrive on movement. They are built that way somehow, so it’s better to get them moving as much as you can. To prepare your knees, you also need to do the same for surrounding muscle groups: calves, thighs, quadriceps, and soleus. These muscles protect them, so you need to make sure they are pumped and ready for the action.
Give them a good stretch and flex. Doing this will help you stabilize and regulate the pressure going to your knees every time you perform an exercise.
A favorite stretch among athletes is called straight leg raise. It’s easy to do and helps you develop stronger thighs, which will, in effect, take off loads of pressure from your knees. If you have weakened or somehow strained your knees from your previous workouts, doing this exercise will help you activate your quadriceps. This will put little to no strain on your knees and strengthen your thighs in the process.
To do the stretch, you need to lie down on your back. Bend your right knee, and keep the left leg straight and rooted to the floor. When you’re ready, raise your left leg, and keep it steady at least a foot away from your starting point. Point your toes diagonally to the wall instead of the ceiling.
Start drawing circles with your toes while your leg is raised. Do this for about 30 seconds, and repeat the same for the other leg. As you get more comfortable with the leg movement and feel your thighs get stronger, you may add ankle weights on your succeeding stretches.
Watch Your Diet
When you put on weight, the added pressure goes straight to your knees. Your whole body is supported by these joints, so the more weight you gain, the more strained your knees get. Some body types readily store fat deposits on the thighs while others get them on the surrounding areas of the abdomen.
Women, in particular, develop problematic areas around the upper legs because of estrogen. This hormone is known to deliver fat to the thighs instead of the belly. It helps nursing mothers, but not the knees. Same goes for men who have high levels of estrogen in their bodies.
Proper nutrition should go hand in hand; there are many diet regimens out in the internet of things that can help you prevent fat buildup. But no matter which one you choose to adopt, it all boils down to whether or not you can commit to it in your everyday life. If you want to do the right thing for your knees, then you have to walk the talk too.
Don’t Be Too Complacent
Even if you’re not into sporty activities, it doesn’t mean there’s no chance of you ever hurting your knee. Long periods of sitting in poor posture can also cause all sorts of problems. Dreaded arthritis or tendonitis and other joint-related medical conditions are just as painful as an injury if left without relief for long.
Are your knees in trouble? Knee issues are common to both active and not-so-active individuals. When you walk in a certain way and you start feeling some discomfort in the surrounding areas of your knees, then you may need to consult a doctor before it becomes severe.
This guest post was submitted by Lauren Hale, freelance lifestyle and fitness writer.