If you have a bad knee (or knees), either due to an injury or a chronic joint condition, getting up and exercising may seem like the last thing you want to do. However, while you will have to be careful, there are many exercises that you can perform safely, and over time, it may actually help to reduce the pain in your knee joints.
The important thing to remember is to start slow. It may be a good idea to consult a health professional, physical therapist or personal trainer before you begin a workout, to make sure you are not overdoing it, and can start with the right exercises. Never do exercises which require you to bend your legs so far that your knees extend past your toes (lunges, most stair climbing exercises, etc.). Also, running, contact sports, skiing or any activity involving jumping or twisting the knees are to be avoided.
If you feel knee pain during a workout, do not ignore it – stop and try something else. Your knees may be a bit sore and swell a little when you start any workout, though – just listen to your body. If they do get a bit sore, ice your knees for about 25 minutes following your workout, and make sure you take a couple days to rest.
The following are three types of exercises that people with bad knees can safely do and greatly benefit from. Start about twice a week, working up to three times a week when you’re ready, but slow down if your joints are becoming aggravated.
It doesn’t get more simple – and for many, enjoyable – than a nice stroll through the park. You can build up your pace to speed walking once your knees feel up to it. Make sure to walk on flat surfaces – no hills or rough terrain until your knees heal. If you cannot go outside, walking on a treadmill, starting at a moderate pace and working your way up, is another option.
Don’t feel like taking a walk? Biking and swimming are also great activities that do not put stress on your knees.
This exercise is done on a staircase, and works your hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes. The key is not to overextend your knee. Standing at the bottom of the stairs, lift one foot and step flat onto the first step. Ensure that your knee is directly over your ankle. Keeping your weight on your heel, lift the opposing foot, tap the step, then lower your foot.
Repeat about ten times, then switch feet.
While full, deep squats are not recommended for people with knee trouble, a partial squat can be a great way to safely exercise both your knees and your quadriceps. Stand in front of a chair, about one foot away, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward.
While tightening your abdominal muscles, slowly squat down about halfway to the chair – less if you feel a strain. Make sure that your knees remain behind your toes. Stand back up slowly, and repeat about ten times. Some people find it helpful to deeply inhale while squatting down, and exhaling when rising back up.
-The Alternative Daily