Our knees take the brunt of most of the movements and weight in our body. We are constantly using them and relying on them and it is important we keep them in good health, because they are going to be with us till the end. Unfortunately knee problems are really common, but in most cases this shouldn’t be enough to put you off being active altogether, it just means you need to take extra care in protecting your knees.
Here are the 6 main rules for keeping your knees safe when exercising:
Take the time to warm up - Warm your legs up before doing any weighted squats or other heavy weight exercises. Some lightweight leg extensions are a great way to engage the muscles, warm them up and encourage good blood flow.
Learn the proper form - Learning the proper form of exercises is incredibly important for protecting your whole body, including your knees! Take the squat for example; don’t let your knees come forward as you descend and keep the weight of your body on your heels.
Don’t lock out your knees - When you lock your knees you are transferring all the weight from the muscles of your legs to the knee joint, which is where the problem lies. So make sure you don’t lock out your knees, to help keep the pressure in the desired areas (the muscles!) and help protect your knee joints.
Leave your ego at the door - Don’t overstrain your body by moving to heavier weights before you are conditioned and ready for them. If you have poor knees then consider opting for lighter loads and more reps. Make sure you are still able to complete the full range of movement with each exercise, if not, then you are using too much weight or the exercise is not appropriate for you.
Choose your cardio wisely - Unfortunately if you have problems with your knees then not all forms of exercise are going to be appropriate. Cardio such as jogging on concrete or rough terrain will place a lot of pressure and impact on your knees. Better options for cardio include swimming, cycling or using an elliptical trainer.
Use braces, sleeves, supports and moderations - Our understanding of our body is getting better and better, and fortunately with it comes more advanced ways of protecting our body. So if you have a knee problem then use a brace, sleeve or support that has been recommended for you and opt for moderations of your preferred exercises so as to protect your injured knee.
Remember that will all knee complaints it is always important that you check with your doctor, or specialist before practicing any form of exercise, just to make sure that what you are doing is safe for you!