As we age, the pressure we put on our knees and other joints accumulates and causes pain any time we move. The good news is, you can maintain an active lifestyle and avoid this pain. Take a look at these four exercises for that will alleviate the pain associated with aging knees.
Going for a walk is the easiest way to stay active without putting a lot of pressure on your joints. All it takes is 15–45 minutes of walking each day to reap the benefits of walking. The best part about walking is you can enjoy it by yourself or with friends and family.
Walking is perfect for aging knees because it rebuilds your joints and strengthens your legs as you move. The more you build the muscles around your knees, the less pressure your joints will feel.
If you have bad knees, the best places to walk are on flat trails, tracks, and barkdust paths. These surfaces are soft and malleable. When you walk on them, the ground conforms to your unique footprint and stride. Unlike trails, walking on cement and other hard surfaces places excess strain on the joints. When choosing a location to walk, find one that is relatively flat. Going up and down hills causes your body to shift more weight from leg to leg, which puts extra pressure on the knees.
Knee pain isn’t the only pain that walking helps relieve. Walking is also a great way to mitigate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. When you go for a walk, your body produces endorphins that naturally elevates your mood.
Riding a bike is another low-impact exercise that is good for people with achy knees. Those who take short trips on flat surfaces are likely to experience little to no knee pain during their ride. Like walking, cycling is an excellent way to build up the muscles around the knee without damaging the joints. The stronger your leg muscles are, the more impact they absorb when you participate in activities such as cycling.
Swimming and Water Aerobics
One of the best exercises for your joints is swimming. Consider most aerobic exercises. Many of them involve awkward landings, sudden stops, pivots, and flexing. All of these movements cause pain and can injure your knees. Swimming, however, involves none of these.
Because you move through water, swimming puts little to no pressure on your knees. Swimming also reduces stiffness in the joints and strengthens the bones in your legs and knees. Almost anyone, regardless of how intense their knee pain is, can exercise for long periods of time in the water without feeling any joint pain.
Swimming is a particularly good exercise if you also want to keep your heart in great shape. It elevates the heart rate, uses the entire body, and improves lung function.
If taking laps in the pool isn’t for you, try attending a water aerobics class. Any form of treading or moving through water removes pressure from the joints.
Flexibility and strength are the enemy of joint pain. If you’re looking for an exercise that gets you moving but doesn’t leave you trying to catch your breath, consider signing up for a yoga class. Yoga moves combine flexibility and strength to tone and realign the body. Yoga is great for people with aging knees because it doesn’t require you to make sudden or harsh movements, preventing knee pain and soreness.
Exercises such as running and tennis wear down the cartilage in your knee cap. When you have less cartilage in your knee, your body tends to overcompensate and fall out of alignment. Many yoga poses help restore the body by strengthening the vastus medialis muscles (the inner quadriceps). Those with stronger inner quadriceps have straighter, correctly aligned, legs. Legs that are correctly aligned eliminate excess pressure on the knees.When you’re ready to alleviate your knee pain, incorporate these exercises into your workout regimen.