Odds are you have had knee replacement surgery or you know someone who has (perhaps both). That’s how frequently this oft-used joint wears out. Thankfully it can be replaced, but not without pain. I don’t like pain and I do like my knees and wish to keep them healthy for as long as possible. If you agree, protect your knees before, during and after walking with these simple moves. Even if you don’t walk regularly for exercise, use these tips to keep knee joints strong and healthy.
Sit upright in a straight-backed chair (dining room table chair is perfect). Stretch your legs straight out in front of you to create a 90 degree angle at the hips. Tap toes together, then tap heels together. Alternate the toe and heel taps for a count of 50 (25 toes, 25 heels). This simple exercise gets the knee joints, muscles and ligaments stretched and ready to go.
* Allow your whole foot to bear the brunt of each step by rolling the foot from heel to toes as your step. Often knee pain is caused by too much body weight landing on the ball of the foot. Even distribution of weight during walking will help prevent knee pain.
* Keep stomach muscles tucked in tight while walking. This makes each step lighter and less strenuous on knee joints. Visualize a string attached to the inside of your belly button that is pulled taunt to your back bone to help you keep your tummy pulled in properly.
* Go for a walk outdoors on uneven terrain a couple times of week to keep knees more agile and make them stronger. Walking on uneven surfaces utilizes muscles fibers that remain dormant when walking on the flat surface of a treadmill or sidewalk.
* Walk on a regular basis to build strong muscles, joints and bones. Weekend warrior activity often does more harm than good, slow and steady always wins the race.
* Muscles and knees joints need cooled down after walking just like they need warmed up before. Grab a chair back with one hand and reach behind you and grab your ankle or toes with the other hand. Pull your foot towards your buttocks until you feel the muscle extending along the front of the thigh. Hold this quad stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
* Remove walking shoes and stand upright. Raise one foot off the floor and bend knee until thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold this balance pose for one minute (try not to hold onto anything). Repeat with other leg.