8 Tips for Protecting Your Knees During Exercise

Did you know that every time you walk across a level surface the stress placed on your knees is 1.5 times your body weight? So, if you weigh 180 pounds, to your knees it feels more like 270 pounds. If you add an incline to your step, the stress on your knees increases to 3-4 times your weight, or as much as 720 pounds for a 180-pound person. 

Jumping, running, and carrying around heavy weights while you exercise may place additional strain on this important joint. Though your knees are strong, the additional weight endured with exercise may lead to pain or an injury.

At Orthopaedic Associates of Reading, we encourage regular exercise due to its many health benefits, but we also want you to know what you can do to protect your knees to prevent unnecessary pain and injury.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight

When it comes to knee health, your weight matters. Maintaining a healthy weight may reduce stress on your knees and any excessive wear-and-tear that leads to osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis and a common cause of knee pain. 

  1. Work out those muscles

Strengthening the muscles that surround your knee redistributes some of the workload to alleviate some of the stress. But you don’t want to limit your strength training to just your legs. You should work out all your major muscle groups — including your back, chest, arms, abdomen, buttocks, and legs — at least twice a week to maintain and build strength and improve balance and coordination.

  1. Don’t forget to warm-up

Jumping right into your exercise routine without stretching or warming up your muscles may lead to an injury. Start with some light stretching or a slow walk to get the blood pumping.

  1. Use proper technique

When it comes to protecting your knees during exercise, proper technique counts. Poor posture, lifting too much weight, or improper body mechanics can lead to an injury. If you’re new to working out, consult with one of our physical therapists, who can design an exercise program that specifically fits your fitness level and health needs. Plus, our physical therapists teach you the proper technique so you get the best results without risk of injury.

  1. Wear the right shoes

Today you can find athletic shoes made for any type of workout, from running to aerobics to basketball. These shoes are designed to provide your foot and arch with the support needed for that specific activity to minimize joint stress. Picking the right shoes for better foot support means less stress on your knees. 

  1. Know your limits

High-impact aerobics may have been your preferred exercise when you were in your 20s, but it may no longer make the best choice for you and your knees now that you’re in your 60s. There are many effective workouts that don’t require sacrificing your knees, including low-impact aerobics, walking, or water aerobics. 

  1. Make healthy food choices

What you eat not only helps you get to a healthy weight, but nutrients in food also provide additional benefits to your health and your knees. Salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, and turmeric are natural anti-inflammatory agents and may reduce post-exercise knee pain. Calcium is also essential for healthy bones, so be sure to include plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as milk, yogurt, fortified juices and cereals, and leafy greens. 

  1. Allow time for rest

No doubt about it, exercise is good for your health. But to reap the benefits, you need to allow your body time to rest and rebuild. Overtraining can place too much stress on your muscles and joints and lead to knee injuries, such as ligament strains or meniscal tears.

For help with your exercise program or management of a knee injury or knee pain, contact Orthopaedic Associates of Reading today. Call one of our three convenient locations or request an appointment online to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopaedic specialists.

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