Knee replacement has become a billion-dollar business.
From my experience, a majority of knee replacements could be avoided or delayed. Also, most traumatic knee injuries can be avoided with smart training.
Below are 10 tips to keep your knees healthy. Also, I created a short video entitled:
12 Knee Stability Exercises in 12 Minutes
Click on the link to watch the video
- Strengthen Your Hips
Your butt is strong. Very strong! f you can become stronger in your hips, your knees will carry much less of the load when you are walking, running, or climbing. This will save your knees over the long term.
- Strengthen Your Core
Perform exercises like planks, leg raises, bridges, ball leg curls, crab walks, crunches, bicycles, and side planks to stay strong in the middle. Your body is like a chain, and if you have a weak link your knees will suffer.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
Use a BMI Chart or a body fat percentage chart to determine if you are too heavy. BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height, but does not account for muscle mass. For example, I am about 5’10, 185, which is overweight (a score of 27) according to a BMI chart, but my bodyfat varies from 7-12% so I am not overweight. Because I am active, I weigh more. Maintaining a healthy weight makes a big difference over time when it comes to joint health.
- Strengthen Your Calves
Most people neglect training the calves, but I am a big believer in strengthening the feet and calf muscles. I use these types of exercises and balance exercises with my clients and in my own program quite a bit.
- Strengthen Your Quadriceps and Hamstrings
The knee is not a perfect hinge joint, like the elbow, but it still conducts business like a hinge, so we need to keep both sides strong- quadriceps and hamstrings.
- Do Functional Exercises
Mix in some light jumping, plyometrics (powerful, explosive training), balance, and agility exercises into your workouts. This will cut the risk of injury down significantly. Cross train and do different types of exercise: Swim, play sports like basketball, go to a batting cage, jump rope, do some dancing and martial arts. Enjoy yourself and train in a variety of ways.
- Don’t Overdo It
Keep your long runs down to once a week. Many distance runners end up having joint problems because they put in too many miles. You really only need one long run per week if you’re a distance runner. The other days should be interval training, and you should take a couple of days off per week running. Also, don’t overdo it on the squats. 5-10 sets per week is plenty. Take at least 2 weeks off per year.
- Warm-Up & Stretch
Always warm up before you train or compete. Test your flexibility and find out specifically where you need to work on stretching. Muscle imbalances caused by imbalanced training or stiff joints can cause all sorts of problems- bone spurs, arthritis, cartilage degeneration.
- Eat a Diet with Healthy Fats and Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables & Healthy Protein
Joints are living organs, containing muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, connective fascia, and cardiovascular, respiratory and lymphatic components. By eating well, your knee health will be improved.
- Learn and Maintain Good Range of Motion in a Squat
The squat is the pivotal movement of the leg complex. Learn to use your hamstrings and hips to “pull” yourself up and down, which will take the load of the knee. The butt is the strongest area in the body. Make good use of it! Pull your knees out slightly when you squat and stay flexible in that motion. Your knees will thank you. Click on this link for a good article on the squat press.
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