Knee health is an important part of aging gracefully. Knee pain is common especially, in older age, often caused by osteoarthritis (the wearing a way of knee cartilage). Fortunately, there are ways to postpone knee problems or even prevent them entirely. In many cases, you can delay or avoid the need for surgical intervention, such as a knee replacement when you care for your knees at all stages in life. Here are 7 hot tips to help you keep your knees happy and healthy for a lifetime.
Strengthen the muscles
Boosting muscle strength stabilizes the knee joint and helps the muscles absorb stress you place on the knee. Strengthening should start with the quadriceps and hamstrings in the thighs, but it shouldn’t end there. It’s also important to strengthen the hip and core muscles to maximize function of the knee. Stronger abs and back muscles help your balance. That means you’re less likely to fall or get injured. Add core (abdominal, back, and hip) strengthening exercises to your routine. If you have joint problems, avoid quick, repetitive movements. Pilates and yoga are great workouts to try. A physical therapist can evaluate your needs and develop a strengthening program that’s right for you.
If you’re overweight, each additional pound you carry translates to another 4 pounds of pressure on the joints. A 20-pound weight gain, for example, would add 80 pounds of pressure on your knees. Losing weight relieves pressure and pain on the joints.
Increase range of motion
Most people’s joints get stiffer with age, and there’s clear evidence that people with better motion have fewer symptoms, especially if they can straighten the knee. So, it’s important to work on getting the knee straight. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises to get yours where it should be.
Know Your Limits
It’s normal to have some muscle aches after you exercise. But if you hurt for more than 48 hours, you may have overdone it. Don’t push so hard next time. Working through the pain can lead to an injury or damage.