When was the last time you skinned your knee? It’s probably been a while since you experienced this commonplace ailment of rough and tumble youthful times. But even if your grown-up ways have made frequent knee scrapes a thing of the past, your habits in adulthood could still be damaging your knees. The only difference now is that the damage may be a little harder to see.
We put an enormous amount of mechanical stress on our knees on a daily basis. And, typically, the knee is designed to take it. However, certain bad habits could be shortening the life of your knees and opening the door to chronic pain and disability.
The way you stand, walk, and move can have a tremendous impact on the health of your knee joints. Taking time now to evaluate some basic choices, such as your stance, your shoes, and your level of overall health and fitness, may help you side-step debilitating knee conditions like osteoarthritis and help keep your knees healthy, inside and out.
Ask yourself the following five questions and find out if you’re being nice to your knees.
Your knees bear the brunt of your body weight, so it’s crucial that you maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). Every extra pound you carry adds up to 3 pounds of pressure on your knee joints when you walk, and 10 pounds when you run. So, if your BMI is 25 or more, you may be compromising the health of your knees. In fact, obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for developing osteoarthritis because it speeds the breakdown of cartilage. Dropping extra weight — particularly body fat — may be the single most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of developing a serious knee problem. In a study reviewed by the National Institutes of Health, overweight people who lost an average of 11 pounds cut their risk of osteoarthritis in half. Click here for FREE body diagnostic.
Regular exercise is essential to maintaining knee strength. Without it, your muscles weaken, leaving your joints without ample support and leaving your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and joints vulnerable to misalignment.
Your best bet is to choose activities with a low risk of knee injury. A knee injury can double the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Daily moderate exercise is much better for your joints than occasional strenuous exercise. Focus on low-impact activities that build stamina, strength, and flexibility, such as yoga, walking, biking, swimming, and weight lifting. These types of exercise can help enhance circulation, improve your range of motion, and build the muscles that surround the knee joints. One study revealed that a relatively small increase in quadriceps strength (20%–25%) can lead to a 20%–30% decrease in the chance of developing knee osteoarthritis. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
Staying active is one of the best things you can do to protect your knees, but you should avoid repetitive strain on muscles and joints. For example, repeatedly engaging in the same activity — whether for work, recreation, or exercise — may loosen tendons or damage cartilage and eventually lead to injuries and possibly even arthritis.
Determining if you are overusing a joint requires listening to your body. When you feel pain or discomfort during or after exercise, household chores, or other activities, don’t ignore it. Take a break and consider ceasing the activity altogether until you can perform it without pain. In the meantime, stay active by focusing on other activities that do not stress the injured joint. If the pain does not go away in 2 weeks, its time to take further action,
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To help avoid overuse injuries here at Belize Fit Body Clinic we spend time warming up before you exercise and cooling down afterward.
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