Exercising is essential to stay fit and healthy. Not only does it help you control your weight and reduce the risk of many diseases, but it also boosts your mood, improves your mental health, and makes you stronger and more flexible. However, exercising also puts strain on your muscles and joints, and if you do not look out for it, you can get injured.
Knee joints are especially prone to injuries, and knee damage can occur in many ways. However, that does not mean that you need to give up working out. With proper care, you can prevent unnecessary damage and painful knee conditions. Warming up, eating healthily, choosing exercise variety, wearing the right shoes – these are just some of the things you can do. Read on to learn more about them.
Maintaining Your Joints
Your knee joint comprises three bones – the femur, the tibia, and the patella. The first two are the big bones in your thigh, while the last one is the kneecap. Many ligaments keep the knee joint stable and strong, and they are crucial to staying healthy. However, they can be easily strained and damaged if you do not take good care of them. Here are some pointers on how to maintain healthy knees:
Warm Up Before Exercising
The joints are more flexible when you are warm rather than when you are cold. That is why it is essential to warm up before exercising. Lucas James, a nationally known celebrity personal trainer and nutrition expert based in Scottsdale, AZ, says that a few jumping jacks or brisk walking are enough to boost your blood circulation, which will, in turn, make the joints more limber.
Stretch Your Muscles
Stretching your muscles before working out will also help you maintain your joints. You can do so by holding each stretch for about 20-30 seconds. This way, you will loosen up your muscles and joints beforehand, which will reduce the risk of injuries.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Staying hydrated is another crucial factor in keeping your body healthy, and it is imperative when you exercise. This is because exercise increases your body temperature, which leads to dehydration. However, if you drink plenty of water beforehand, as well as during and after exercising, you will prevent this and other problems, such as muscle cramping.
Go for Variety
If you are doing a particular workout routine every time, there is a chance that your joints will get used to repetitive movements and become vulnerable to damage. In order to avoid this problem, you should vary your exercises from time to time. Do a set of pushups today, followed by a set of squats tomorrow, and so on. This way, the stress will be distributed across different joints and muscles, and you will not only be able to avoid injury but also improve your fitness level faster.
Choose the Right Shoes
If you exercise frequently, you should always wear shoes that are specifically designed for fitness activities. While running shoes may be okay for walking, you should never try to run in your walking shoes, as they have poor support, which can lead to joint damage or knee injuries.
Wear Compression Socks
Another smart way to keep your knees healthy while exercising is to wear compression socks. These socks increase blood circulation in your legs, which keeps the joints healthy and prevents pain and injuries. The increased blood supply also means that your knees can withstand more stress before getting hurt. Some people also notice that compression socks significantly decrease their recovery time after a knee injury or surgery.
Wear Knee Braces Or Pads
Knee braces and pads are also an excellent way to reduce knee injuries. However, you should choose carefully, as not all knee braces are suitable for all activities. For instance, if you plan on weightlifting, a full-length knee brace is best, as it will support your entire knee joint. However, if you exercise in the water, you should opt for a smaller knee brace that will not get in the way of your movements.
Things To Avoid To Keep Your Knees Healthy
Knee pain is a common problem for many people. However, many things can cause knee pain or even lead to knee injuries. Here are some of them:
Improper Use Of Heels
Many women wear high heels, as they may think that high heels make their legs look better, or make them taller, or because they may want to stand out in a crowd. However, high heels are bad for the knees, as the pressure on the heel affects the walking motion and can lead to knee pain.
Your posture has a massive impact on your health. If you always slouch or sit on a chair with no lower back support, you put unnecessary strain on your body. This can cause back pain, neck pain, and even knee pain. That is why it is crucial to pay attention to your posture and sit properly at all times. It does not matter if you are at home or on the job; always sit straight and lift your shoulders back.
Too Much Weightlifting
You may think that weightlifting will help you build a strong upper body and reduce knee pain. However, the opposite is true. If you try to lift too much weight, you risk damaging your joints. That is why it is vital to work with a personal trainer who will teach you how to lift weights safely and avoid injuring yourself.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes – rather often seldom – intense workouts or an active lifestyle may reward you with knee pain. It is not only an unpleasant feeling in your body but also a signal of a possible injury. If your knees start hurting while exercising, don’t ignore it. Instead, consult a doctor and find out what is causing the pain in order to prevent further damage.
However, there are also several ways to prevent knee pain from occurring in the first place. Stretching, drinking plenty of water, diversifying your training program, and choosing suitable sports clothing are necessary if you want to keep your knees healthy.