Knee pain is a common problem in adults 40 and over, and it can even begin at a younger age if you engage in vigorous athletic activities. Knee discomfort can become serious enough to disrupt your normal activities. Orthopedic experts recommend doing regular knee exercises to strengthen the muscles and ligaments that support the knee joint to maintain good function and reduce pain.
Backward Treadmill Walk
One of the simplest ways to begin to strengthen the knees is to walk slowly backward on a treadmill at the gym. Individuals can slow the treadmill down to 0.5 or 0.6 mph and gradually increase the speed to 0.9 or 1.0 mph to increase the strength of the muscles surrounding the knee that help to support the joint. Make sure you use the sidebars to secure your balance when turning around.
Step-up exercises help to strengthen all lower leg muscles to provide better support for the knee joint. Use a step exercise platform about 8 inches high. Place the foot of the affected leg on the platform and carefully lift the weight of the body over the foot until the leg is fully extended, keeping the knee aligned over the foot. Then, slowly lower the weight back onto the floor. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
Prone Position Leg Raises
Prone leg raises can provide greater strength along the front of the knee for better stability. Lie on the floor on a gym mat on your stomach. Place the hands on the mat at shoulder level. Extend the right leg and lift above the mat slowly, and then lower it back down to the mat. Repeat 10 times, and then change to the other leg.
Side Position Leg Raises
These exercises strengthen muscles along the inside and outside of the knee for better stability. Lie on a gym mat on the floor on your right side, keeping your balance by placing the upper arm on the floor. Lift your leg slowly to the ceiling, as high as you can, and then, lower it slowly back to the floor. Repeat 10 times, and then, change to the other side. Repeat the exercise.
This exercise strengthens all muscles of the leg and foot for better support. Stand close to the back of a chair or a counter with legs slightly apart. Lift the weight of your body onto your toes, lifting heels up high. Lower heels down to the floor. Repeat for a count of 10 for 4 times.
Hamstring curls provide better support for the sides of the knee, as well as stronger muscles at the back of the leg. Stand near the back of a chair, using it for balance. Bend your right knee, lifting it backward as high as it will go. Then, lower the knee back to the original position. Repeat the exercise 10 times, and then, change to the left leg. Increase the speed of the bends as your leg muscles strengthen.
These exercises will help to keep your knees stronger, so you can avoid disabling conditions that will prevent you from enjoying your favorite activities.