Here's How You Can Keep Your Knees Healthy
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Truth is, knee pain isn’t something every person over the age of 50 has to suffer from. It is possible to avoid it.Did you know that the knees are our largest joints, and provide stable support to the entire body? Athletes and dancers will be the first to tell you that you are as old as your knees. If your knees are healthy, standing, walking, and jumping will not be a problem.
However, if your knees are making weird popping sounds and are aching, then all’s not well. Weak knees don’t occur only in older people. It could happen at any age, and if it’s not rectified, can wreak havoc.
If you are aching, there could be a number of reasons for it:
- Injury, or straining of the knee
- Nutritional deficiency
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive sodium intake
- Smoking or drinking
- If you are in pain, don’t ignore it or exercise through the pain.
- Don’t bound up and down steps. This puts stress on your kneecaps.
- Work on your inner thighs. Your thighs are crucial for absorbing stress when you walk.
- Increase fluid intake, to keep your cartilage soft and hydrated.
- Walking or cycling is a great low-impact exercising option.
Things you can do to strengthen your knees:
- Stay in motion – The golden rule of healthy joints is that the more you move, the less the stiffness. Certain exercises help strengthen the muscles around your joints. Therapists recommend doing these exercises at least 3 times a week:
- Wall sit – This exercise targets your hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and the abdominal muscles. This is a lower intensity alternative to lunges and squats. Using the wall to support your back, bend your knees, and lower yourself till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold till comfortable.
- Hamstring stretches – Lie on your back. Using a strap, raise your legs one by one, till you feel the stretch behind your knee and thighs.
- Calf stretch – Stretch your arms, and using the wall for support, bend one knee while keeping the other one stretched behind you, and push. The slight pressure on your knees and calves will help strengthen the muscle.
2. Your weight – Keep your weight down. The more you weigh, the harder your joints will have to work to support you. If you are overweight, the chances of your knees weakening, over a period of time, are very high. Reduce your weight, and boost your knees’ strength.
3. Massage – Regular massages improve the circulation around weak muscles. This can be done at home with warm olive, coconut, or mustard oil. However, if you have chronic knee pain, then consulting a massage therapist is a better bet.
4. Epsom salts – People with weak knees, who also suffer from conditions like osteoarthritis, normally have low levels of magnesium. Since Epsom salts are high in magnesium, it provides quick relief for the pain and inflammation. You could apply it to the knees, and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Alternately, soaking in a tub of warm water, which has Epsom salts added to it, is also beneficial.
5. Swimming – This is a low-impact aerobic exercise. Due to the reduced pressure used during swimming, it is ideal for those suffering from knee pains. It reduces knee stiffness, and strengthens the knee muscles and bones. It is a fantastic exercise for overall fitness too.
6. Calcium – A low amount of calcium, which is essential for bone health, can lead to deficiencies that cause weakening of the bones. Eat food which is rich in calcium, such as milk, almonds, sardines, and leafy green vegetables. If you are taking supplements, take one containing Vitamin D, so that your body can absorb the calcium.
7. Vitamin C – Vitamin C is important for collagen formation. Collagen is necessary for knee cartilage formation and bone development. Good sources of Vitamin C are broccoli, bell peppers, berries, and oranges.
With these tips, you can pamper your knees and strengthen your joints now, and save yourself years of discomfort and pain.