Keeping healthy knees and joints is an important component for overall health.
The 3 most common areas of knee injury are:
1. IT Band: The IT band runs from the pelvis to the knee, and helps stabilize the knee during physical activity.
2. ACL: The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the most commonly torn.
3. Meniscus: This absorbs shock and protects the knee joint from impact.
Keeping the muscles that support healthy knees strong can help general health. Here are 7 exercises that will help support already healthy knees and joints..
Exercise 1: Stretching
Stretching is particularly important for the iliotibial (IT) band which runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin and attaches at the knee. The IT bank helps stabilize and move the joint. You can stretch it by standing with the left foot crossed over the other, arms above your head, then lean as far as you can to the left without bending your knee. Then switch legs and lead the other way.
Exercise 2: Lunges
Lunges are intended to increase flexibility and build muscle strength in the muscles of your quadriceps.
According to a HuffingPost article on how to perform the perfect lunge, you should:
- Keep your knees aligned, front knee over your shoe and back knee pointing down.
- Watch yourself lunge with a side-view mirror.
- Keep your knees, hips and shoulders all facing in same direction — forward.
- Think about how you are distributing your body weight.
Exercise 3: Step-ups
Step ups (where you stand in front of a step or raised surface, and practice stepping up onto it with one foot, and then the other) can help to strengthen the hamstrings. Here’s a video from LIveStrong on how to perform a step-up correctly:
Exercise 4: Cycling
This low-impact exercise option can support the knee to achieve a range of motion movement, and strengthen the muscles in the leg.
Exercise 5: Squats
Squats strengthen glutes, which in turn supports healthy knees. When doing squats keep your knees bent and your back straight. How to correctly do a squat:
Exercise 6: Jumping rope with bent knees
First of all, jump roping is a serious excerices that can challenge the most muscle-ripped of all legs. But it’s also a great excercise for the beginner. Jump in front of a mirror if you can, to check your form. You should be landing with slightly bent knees so as not to put too much pressure on your joints. Practicing landing with slightly bent knees can help strengthen the joints and may help improve knee health. Here’s how to jump rope like a pro:
Exercise 7: Leg lifts
There are many ways to do this exercise. If you are ever sitting throughout the day, sit in a chair, put a foam roller or towel under your knees, and lift your leg, holding for a few seconds, then switch legs. Do several repetitions. Here’s another technique:
Exercise 8: Yoga
Low impact activities, like Yoga, are great for overall strength and to support strength and health.
The more you strengthen the muscles surrounding your already healthy knees and other joints, the healthier your knees will be. Go here for supplements that support joint health.