With an existing pain, exercising must be the last thing in your mind. But it doesn’t have to be. Moving around could be the best thing you can do for your knees.
Good therapy for knee pain is exercise — BUT it needs to be the RIGHT exercise. Overdoing it may harm you and make your pain worse. To avoid further problems here are some do’s and don’ts:
If you’re worried that exercising will be too hard on your knees, try exercising in water first. The buoyancy of the water will take the load off your knees, allowing you to exercise with less pain and stress on your joints.
Avoid high-impact activities
Basketball, tennis, racquetball, squash, soccer, and football are just some of the activities and sports you need to avoid. These activities are hard on the knees because they involve sudden starts, stops, and turns, as well as jumping and landing.
Walking is still the best exercise
Walking is considered as the best exercise for most conditions. Moderate walking is recommended for people with knee pain because it’s a low-impact activity. If your joints are painful and stiff, start slowly and work up to 20 minutes of walking per day. Plus, daily walking will help with weight loss — another bonus since carrying extra weight puts stress on the knees.
Avoid exercising on hard surfaces
Walking or running on concrete or asphalt is a bad idea when you suffer from knee pain because these surfaces have no shock absorption. Dirt paths and grasses are considered good options because it absorbs shock, but it tends to be bumpy and uneven. If grass and dirt don’t sound appealing, take your walk indoors. Treadmills can do the trick, too.
Use knee-friendly exercise equipment
Stationary bikes and elliptical machines allow you to get a good aerobic workout without stressing your knee joints. Recumbent stationary bikes are even better because you’re not sitting upright while exercising, which takes more weight off the knee joints.
Avoid bending the knees excessively. Avoid doing full squats and leg presses. These strength-training routines often require bending the knees beyond 90 degrees, which puts excessive pressure and strain on the knees, says Stuchin.
Warm-up and stretching is a must
Take a few minutes to stretch the quadriceps and hamstrings before your exercise. Then start with five minutes of slow walking before getting into the pool or pedalling on the stationary bike. This will also get your heart rate and breathing revved up slowly, which is beneficial for overall fitness.
Exercising regularly can help ease knee pain, improve joint function, and improve overall health. If you aren’t sure what kind of exercising you should do for your specific knee pain, consult your doctor or work with a physical therapist from Fort Lee Physical Therapy.