The largest joint in our body, the knee is vulnerable to many injuries and ailments. Some knee injuries are sports induced, like torn ligaments, while others result from normal aging. It can be painful and annoying, but knee pain should never prevent us from staying in shape. Here are some tips for avoiding knee pain and exercising despite it.
To avoid future knee injuries:
- Run. Contrary to popular belief, the compressive motion of running brings more fluid to the knees, preventing injuries. The research as to whether long-distance running leads to knee injury or arthritis remains inconclusive, but active people have more protective cartilage in their joints than sedentary people.
- Lift weights. Moderate weight lifting can strengthen the muscles surrounding your knees, making them less vulnerable to injury. The squat and dead lift do put pressure on the knees, but the pressure is applied vertically. Knees can take this pressure; it’s the twisting and turning that leads to injury. So squat away, but use good form.
- Warm up with “neuromuscular training.” While the benefits of most warmups are debatable, neuromuscular training has some proven benefits. It conditions your body to run, jump, and land in a way that avoids knees twisting and buckling. Here’s a nice video showing you how.
- Use Power 20′s Fitness Trainer Pro and the Better Butt Workout. These emphasize balance, work all the muscles in the legs, and can be done without equipment.
If you already have knee pain:
Keep exercising, but modify your movements to strengthen the area around your knees and to engage the rest of your body. Specific routines you can consider include:
- Upper body weight lifting
- Bodyweight exercises (pushups, situps, etc.)
- Stationary holds (planks)
- Use the Power 20 Amazing Abs workout; it’s a core strengthener that won’t strain your knees.