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Health and Fitness News

Knees Need Exercise

Keep your knees strong and healthy with these simple exercises.

You know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This applies to many areas of life, including exercise. One of the most important reasons to exercise is to keep your body strong and healthy in order to prevent costly, painful healthy conditions down the road. The knee is a large, complex joint that bears the brunt of your activity. As a result, it’s prone to injury and pain. Aging, obesity, a lack of exercise, repetitive motions, and high impact activities can all have a negative effect on the health of your knees.

Regular physical activity offers the best protection for your knees from pain, injury, and diseases such as osteoarthritis. You just have to choose your exercises wisely. The right exercises help to strengthen the muscles that surround and support your knee. At the same time, they reduce unwanted inflammation, keeps your knee bones strong. And by helping you maintain a healthy weight, they lessen excessive pressure on your joints.

Great as these exercises are, you may need to wait before jumping in. If you currently have knee pain, check with your doctor before adding these knee-tastic exercises to your routine.

Your Knees Need Squats

The squat is a popular exercise to protect the knees. It does this by strengthening your quadriceps (the muscles on the front of your thighs), hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your thighs), glutes, hips, and calves. There are variations, but nothing beats the basic squat. Stand with your feet placed shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body and bend your knees as if to sit in an invisible chair. Keep your back straight, and don’t let your knees go in front of your toes. Avoid deep squats that bend your knees to less than 90 degrees.

Your Knees Need Seated Leg Raises

Build strong quadriceps and hips with seated leg raises. While sitting in a chair, place your feet on the floor or let them dangle. Slowly lift one foot off the floor in front of you until your leg is parallel to the floor. Try not to lock your knee. Hold for one second, and then lower your foot to the floor. Switch legs, and repeat.

Your Knees Need Lunges

Work your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hips, and calves is the forward lunge. Stand up and take a large step forward with your right foot. Slowly lower your body and bend your knees so your left knee lowers toward the floor. Make sure your right knee doesn’t pass in front of your toes. From this position, push off from your right heel and come to a standing position. Then step forward with your left foot and repeat.

You Knees Need Step-Ups

For this exercise, you’ll need a stair step or small platform. If necessary, hold onto a wall or the back of a chair for balance. Stand with both feet on the stair, then lower one foot off the stair. Straighten the leg on the stair as you bring the other foot up to tap on the stair. Repeat and switch legs.

Heel and Calf Raises

Strong calf muscles support the back of your knee, as your calves connect to your hamstrings. This simple exercise can be done standing on the floor or with your toes and balls of your feet on the edge of a two-inch board or step. Hold a wall or the back of a chair for balance if needed. Feet hip-width apart, lift your body up on your toes. Pause and lower back down. Work different parts of your calves by pointing your toes inward or outward as you lower and raise your body. Hold free weights in your hands to increase the intensity.