Is knee pain hindering your daily activities? Try these five moves to strengthen the muscles that protect your knees.
A common cause for knee pain is tightness or imbalance in the hamstrings, the area above the knees and below the glutes. These moves target these important areas and help to boost your ability to move freely and without pain.
You can start with 5 reps per exercise, and we recommend that you have a sturdy chair nearby to support your balance.
Knee Flexion and Extension
Stand beside your chair and rest one hand on the back of the chair to help maintain your balance. Plant the foot nearest to the chair and shift your weight to that leg. Raise the knee of your opposite leg then extend the heel of your foot toward the front of the room. Next, bend the knee and bring your foot back in toward your body, then push your foot to the floor again. Remember to keep your back straight and core engaged throughout these moves. Try the Knee Flexion and Extension five times on both legs.
Stand beside your chair and feel free to hold the back of the chair to support your balance. Stand tall and tighten your core muscles. Then, plant one foot firmly to the floor and raise the heel of your opposite foot behind you. Your heel should move toward your glutes. This is the Hamstring Curl. Repeat this move 5 times, or as many you like, on both legs.
In the same position beside your chair, we’ll modify the hamstring curls to get a nice stretch and workout in the hips. Standing tall with one foot planted to the floor, raise the heel of your opposite foot behind you until your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Then, extend your leg and push your heel toward to the back of the room, as if to press your foot on the wall behind you. Repeat this move five times. Then, switch positions and try the Hip Extension with your opposite leg.
You can hold onto the chair for balance support or perform these stretches while seated: It’s up to you. Stand tall beside your sturdy chair with feet planted firmly to the floor. Then, raise one knee up as high as is comfortable and hold in that position. Then draw a circle with your raised foot, go left and then right. After you’ve circled clockwise and counterclockwise, press your heel to the ground again and straighten your back. Next, bend both knees slightly and hinge forward from the hips. You should feel a nice stretch in your hamstrings. Next, lift up and repeat the sequence with your opposite leg.
Stand with feet a little wider than hip-distance apart. Keep your back straight and core engaged. Bend your knees slightly and shift your weight back for a shallow squat. Next, keep your toes to the floor and raise the heel of your right foot, then press it down again. Then push yourself back up to standing. Move into another shallow squat then raise the heel of your left foot and push it down again. As you grow stronger, try this move with a deeper squat. Repeat this squat stretch 5 times.
If squatting isn’t your thing, try these variations to get a lower body strength boost.
A pain in your knee can be a real thorn in your side. Add these moves to your regular routine or try them once or twice a week. As you get stronger, you can modify these moves to make them more intense. For more tips on relieving knee pain, make yourself aware of the best and worst exercises for your knees.
As Jenny says, “Keep the commitment to stay healthy and strong.”
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