Exercise, as we know, is very important and offers numerous benefits. Exercises help strengthen the muscles around the joints, and prevent stiffness, back pain and knee pain. They also reduce stress and keep the weight in check.
Exercises vary depending on what part of the body you intend to work on. People, however, tend to pay attention to the upper extremities and don’t remember the lower part until injuries happen. Knee pain can greatly affect your daily activities and movement. Therefore, you must take care to avoid injuries to them.
Here are some tips and exercises that can help prevent knee injuries.
#1. Choose the right shoes.
Exercises can be fun and helpful, but they also expose you to injuries from falls and other accidents. It is therefore important to get the right protective equipment. Choosing the right sneaker involves choosing that which perfectly fits the shape of your feet and makes it convenient when running. It will also help maintain a good balance. You can also get experienced advisers who can recommend the best shoes for you. When it comes to shoes, it is best to avoid wearing high heels often, as it places pressure on the quadriceps.
#2. Get knowledge.
In any exercise you want to carry out, you must be knowledgeable about the techniques involved. Gym equipment can be quite dangerous if handled recklessly. Get the help of members of the staff in the gym you are signed on to show you how to properly handle the equipment. If you are cross-training at home, don’t use equipment you are not well informed about. When you have the right information, you can make better choices. The best equipment to help prevent knee injuries are the rowing machine and a cross-country skiing machine. They offer less stress to the knee. You can also workout with weights, as they strengthen the leg muscles that support the knee. You can also choose to swim or walk.
But be careful of the following when carrying out any of these activities:
- Build up gradually; don’t try to overexert yourself. Trying to do so much at once can cause knee pain. Increase gradually and avoid the temptation to go full steam, as this can cause all kinds of pain.
- Don’t decrease your activity, as this can cause weakness in the knees.
- Avoid activities like deep knee bend, kneeling and downhill running, as this places extra stress on the knee.
- Warm up and relax the body before starting.
#3. Maintain the right diet.
Exercising is a vigorous and energy-consuming activity, so it is important to ensure your body gets the right nutrients it needs. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet. Food that are rich in carbohydrates are also good, as they provide a rich source of energy. The right diet will help your body recover more and reduce injuries. Water is also very important when exercising. You tend to sweat a lot during exercises and water is lost from your body in this form. It is therefore essential that this water is being replaced. Take adequate water before, during and after your exercise.
#4. Maintain your weight.
When you have extra weight, it places extra pressure on the knee because the weight of the body is supported by the lower extremities. For each step you take, two to four times the body weight is transmitted from the hip to the knee joints to the legs and then to the ground. Extra weight can increase your chances of developing knee pain, as the joints have to do more work. It is therefore important to maintain a weight that is perfect for your age and size so as to decrease stress placed on the knee. Eat healthy, and avoid fatty food that contributes to weight gain. If needed, consult your doctor on the right diet for you.
#5. Balance and flexibility.
While working out, it is essential to maintain a balance. Don’t concentrate on a particular body part that you begin to ignore others. If you are working on your legs, you must work on the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Injury in one muscle of the leg can affect the others, which then affect the knee and invariably causes knee pain. Be sure to exercise all muscles of the leg and maintain a balance. Flexibility is also an integral part when it comes to the knee. You must take the time to cool down and stretch your muscles after any rigorous exercise. You must also warm up before starting any rigorous activity, as it helps in ensuring blood flows to the muscles and creates heat, which decreases wear and tear. You can do this by jogging in one place for about 1 minute. You can also do a butterfly stretch or a standing hip flexor using a resistance band. If you don’t have time to warm up, you can start slowly and then pick up speed gradually.
#6. Maintain a good posture.
It is important to stand or sit up straight and avoid slouching. When you slouch, you place pressure on the waist. This can cause fatigue, which affects the joints and can lead to knee pain. You must also develop the core muscles of the abdomen and back. Exercises such as yoga, planks and back extensions can help strengthen those core muscles. These exercises can help tighten your abdominal and gluteal muscles and also prevent back pain.
The best way to deal with injuries to the knee is to prevent them from happening. It is, however, important to ask your physiotherapist or doctor to help in designing the best exercise plan for you. Prevention is key.
Dr. John Mills of Spine and Posture Care.
Dr. John Mills is the content manager at spineandposturecare.com.au for last four years. He has the passion about writing new issues involving human health and giving away all the solutions in the articles by consulting specialists for proper guidance. He uses all the past experiences in exploring new ways to better the lives of those who are facing problems in their back and spine. For more, visit spineandposturecare.com.au.