As babies are knees are flexible and grow strong as we learn to walk and maneuver around obstacles. Our muscles become stronger as we learn to run, reach and bend and do all the things that children do. Fast forward to adulthood and we continually put stress on our knees. The problem isn’t the stress we put on the knees but rather the imbalances that we create in the surrounding muscles that support the knee. Repetitive movements that do not allow a balance to the muscles that surround the joint will put undue stress on the joint itself, causing misalignments.
In the most simplistic terms our knees lose their cushioning (cartilage) because the bones no longer line up like they should. In other words, imbalances have occurred in the muscles which will alter how the bones line up. In a perfect world we would not sit all day and we would balance our activities to create a balance within our muscles. But, for the majority commuting and possibly working behind a desk and at a computer is the reality. Sitting creates short hamstrings and hip flexors. To counter the sitting, one needs to stand and stretch out their hamstrings and hip flexors. Working the quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh) will strengthen the muscles in front and sides of the knee. Simple leg lifts while lying supine, can create a strong and functional quadriceps. Walking is probably one of the best exercises for the knees. Paying particular attention to extension when walking.
Pay attention to your knees. Treat them kindly. Create a balanced workout that does not overtax them, but creates flexibility and strength. Functional muscles are preferred over constricted tight inflexible muscles. A well rounded workout that incorporates all the muscle groups is more effective than always targeting the same muscles. Creating a balance is the goal. Pilates and yoga can create that strong supple body without overtaxing the joints. When we are young we don’t think about our joints too much, but as we age the reality of what we have done in the past becomes our future. Remember we only have so many miles on our joints, pick wisely what you put them through. Balanced workouts that do not overtax the joints are better suited to joint health. So stretch, reach, bend and extend for the health of your joints.
For more information about health and fitness, please contact: Kay Colgan, 14 S. Madison Street, Middleburg, Virginia or call 540-687-6995.