Really, your knees are nothing short of miraculous. Most people utilise their knees, hips, and shoulders fairly regularly throughout the day. When you’re standing still, they support about 80% of your weight, and when you walk, they support 150% or more of your weight. That’s equivalent to 240 pounds of force in a 160-pound individual.
Damage to the knees from factors such as advancing age, injuries, and overuse can lead to osteoarthritis (OA), the most prevalent form of arthritis in the knees.
Cartilage is a smooth, slick covering that allows the ends of your bones slide over each other, and its gradual degeneration is the cause of osteoarthritis. That way, bones can brush against one another. Pain, edoema, stiffness, and decreased range of motion are typical symptoms that tend to worsen over time.
After age 50, osteoarthritis is more likely to develop due to normal wear and tear, but an injury or repetitive motions like lifting, jarring, or bending can also contribute to or exacerbate the condition.
Your knees could use some protection, or at the very least there are certain things that might help.
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Cut Back on Calories
If you lose just 10 pounds, you can relieve pressure of up to 40 pounds from your knees. (The level of force required varies with the nature of the action.) It may make a great difference in the long run to have 40 less pounds per day to bear on your knees. Losing weight may even alleviate some of the aches and pains you were feeling in your joints earlier.
It’s not only the extra pounds, either. Inflammation caused by fat cells’ chemical secretions is associated with the degeneration of cartilage and the development of osteoarthritis. Having a reduced fat intake may reduce inflammation.
Any amount of weight loss is beneficial. Those who maintain a healthy weight have a reduced risk of developing arthritis as they age.
Even so, weight loss isn’t for everyone. If you want to know what the ideal range is for someone of your stature, you should consult a doctor. A healthy body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. If you do decide to lose weight, it’s important to create a plan with your doctor that takes into account your individual habits and needs.
Get Your Knees Some Exercise
As long as you don’t overdo it or put extra strain on a joint (like the knee) that’s already injured, exercise really helps maintain your joints healthy.
If you’re already experiencing knee discomfort and don’t want it to get worse, it’s best to consult a doctor. Kneeling, deep bending, and jogging downhill are all positions that can be taxing on the knees and should be avoided if possible.
While doing the same motions over and over again increases your risk for knee pain, sitting around too much could be just as detrimental for you. Cartilage loss in the knees and other areas occurs in persons who are unable to move for any reason, such as after surgery, an injury, or illness. It would appear that regular exercise is necessary if you want to keep your knees in good operating order.
More than only cartilage gains from this. The vast network of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support and move the knee joint can be strengthened and stretched by regular exercise. And that helps maintain its steadiness and forward momentum. In addition to alleviating pain, exercise can also reduce the chronic inflammation that contributes to joint discomfort and is possibly a contributing factor in OA.
When it comes to alleviating pain and increasing range of motion in the knee, OA sufferers who are already experiencing symptoms should prioritise exercise above medicine.
And remember that physical activity should be incorporated into your plan for losing weight. Getting rid of additional weight relieves stress on the legs and knees.
So, what exactly should you be doing for exercise? Every variety!
- Aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, or rowing, helps reduce inflammation and increase stamina, allowing you to keep going for longer.
- Strengthening the hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps with resistance training, such as weightlifting or lunges, helps prevent knee injuries. This helps maintain joint stability and protect against injuries. It’s not just your knees that benefit from strengthening your core muscles.
- Increase your knee’s range of motion by stretching the iliotibial (IT) band and other surrounding muscles and connective tissue.
Hone Your Skills
Overuse injuries are widespread in sports, and poor technique is the main culprit. A slight misstep or alteration in your form can have a significant impact on your golf swing or jump shot.
Even routine tasks like moving boxes or carrying groceries require careful technique. You can stay on track with the help of trainers, coaches, MDs, and PTs.
Get Your Dance On!
Knee pain can be avoided by not doing the same thing over and over again. You could, for instance, jog on Mondays, do weights on Tuesdays, garden on Wednesdays, and spend weekends playing with the kids.
One alternative is to venture outside the norm and try: In addition to the physical benefits of increased flexibility, strength, and balance, yoga also includes meditative practises that have been shown to have positive effects on mental well-being.
There is evidence to suggest that it is just as beneficial to your knees as other forms of aerobic and strength training.
Warming up beforehand is a smart idea whether you’re planning to play a blazing game of pickup basketball or assist a friend move some furniture. Raise one knee, then the other, and march in place. Five to ten minutes is all that’s needed. Averting harm at the cost of that is acceptable.
The Key Is to Take It Easy at the Beginning
It’s encouraging to be enthusiastic about starting a new fitness routine. However, it is recommended that you take it easy.
Whenever you start a new exercise routine, let your body a few weeks to adjust. Then, whether you’re training for weightlifting, tennis, or just running, you may gradually increase your pace, distance, weight, or intensity over the course of weeks and months.
Make sure you’re not going to hurt your knees or anything else by monitoring your body’s reaction.