“Bad knees” have derailed many an exercise program. Overuse injuries, and joint disease account for most knee ailments. Stop exercising if you feel pain in your knee. Always increase the intensity of your workout gradually. Stretch your legs before and after physical activity. Wear shoes that fit well and offer enough support. Keep your thigh muscles strong with regular stretching and strengthening. Always seek medical attention for any acute pain. Take the necessary time to recover and then get back into the swing of things. But what do you do if the pain is chronic as in the case of joint disease; you know “Uncle Arthur?” This is what I’ve found to be effective since Uncle Arthur has come to stay. It is not a one size fits all option, but it’s worked for me.
Stand about 12 inches away from the front of a chair with your feet about hip width apart and your toes forward. Bending at the hips, slowly lower yourself halfway down to the chair. Keep your abs tight, and check that your knees stay behind your toes. Don’t let your rear end hit the bottom of the chair.
Using an aerobic step, or a staircase, step up onto the step with your right foot. Tap your left foot on the top of the step, and then lower. As you step up, your knee should be directly over your ankle. Repeat with your left foot. No steps in your house, no problem, use an outside step or even the curb (safety first with this one). This is great for your hiney also.
Wall slides are good for strengthening thigh muscles. Loosen up a bit before you do this exercise. Or do them after you’ve done your cardio and your muscles are already warmed up. They are best done on carpet or a non-slippery surface. Stand with your back against a wall, and your feet straight in front of you. Keep your back against the wall (you don’t hear that too many times do ya?) and slide down until you’re in a semi sitting position. Take it slow and only slide down as far as you feel comfortable. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slide back up. As your quad muscles get stronger, you can hold the position longer. Just starting out repeat up to 5 times holding the position for about 10 seconds. Gradually increase to 10 times, holding for up to 20 seconds.
Side-lying Leg Lifts
Lie on your left side, legs straight and together, with your left arm supporting your head. Hips stacked. With your right foot flexed and your body straight, slowly lift your right leg about as high as your ribcage, then slowly lower. Repeat with your left leg. Do 12 times each side.
This is an easy but productive ride. Great for those with bad knees and bad backs. Make sure you pay attention to your posture (sit upright) and position the seat properly. You should have a good extension in your legs. Trust me it’s effective.
The Elliptical Machine
Also known as the cross-trainer is great for all fitness levels, talk about more bang for your buck!. This piece of equipment is a great additional to your cross-training routine.
Basic Rules For Everyone
It would make no sense to do knee exercises and then go back to bad form and positioning habits that cause the pain. When you let your weight sag into your joints instead of using your muscles to support them you’re negating the benefit of the exercise and making way for more wear and tear on your joints. Practicing these knee conscious tips will help to keep you in the gym and out of rehab.
- Never bend your legs to a point where your knees stick out past your toes. That puts a lot of pressure under the kneecap. This not only applies to exercising but also when you’re stretching.
- Keep knees and feet facing straight forward, not turned in or out.
- Keep body weight spread evenly on the foot. Unless you’re tip-toeing through the tulips stay off your toes.
- When stepping up stairs or an incline, don’t step toe first. Put your whole foot down and press through the heel so that your muscles lift you, not your knee joint.
- When stepping down, step toe first, bend your knee upon contact for shock absorption, and step down lightly with your weight held up on the leg on the upper step.
- You’re not auditioning for the Broadway musical “Stomp”. Don’t stomp, walk, move, exercise and sit down with gentle shock absorption in mind.
- Walk and run by rolling heel to toe. Although you will step lightly, don’t do it by trying to walk or run on your toes.
Kneed I say more?