Five of the Best Exercises for Relieving Knee Pain

Published September 1, 2017

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Regularly participating in gentle, low-impact exercise is one of the best ways to relieve knee pain and keep swelling and stiffness at bay. Not only does regular physical activity help to strengthen the muscles that support your knee joints, it also assists with keeping your joints flexible so that you can maintain your full range of motion.

What’s more, research has shown that inactivity of the knee joint is one of the key causes of cartilage degradation.1 For this reason, keeping your joints active is essential for supporting joint health.

To reduce discomfort and improve mobility, experts recommend aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise on most days.2 Here are five forms of exercise that will strengthen and support your knees without placing stress on your joints:

  1. Walking is the ultimate low-impact exercise and can be adjusted according to your level of fitness. If you’ve not exercised for a while, start out with short distances at a slower pace, working up to longer distances and a quicker pace over a period of several weeks. Remember to invest in some good quality walking shoes with plenty of support.
  2. Yoga is great for gradually improving strength and flexibility – but it’s essential to let your teacher know if you have knee problems so that they can tailor the poses to suit you. Bridge pose, standing big toe pose and butterfly pose (also known as bound angle pose) are all excellent knee-strengthening exercises to try.3 Once you’ve learned how to do them safely, you can easily perform them at home.
  3. Golf is another smart choice for those with knee pain because it involves plenty of stop/start walking, gentle knee-bends and doesn’t place undue stress on your joints. Just don’t cheat and hire a golf buggy!
  4. Cycling is sometimes cited as a cause of knee pain by those who love the sport, but if you choose the right equipment and level of intensity, it can in fact be highly beneficial. Make sure you warm up before you cycle and start off slow, building up to a faster pace as you go.
  5. Simple at-home stretches. Learning a few simple stretching techniques that target your quads, hamstrings and glutes is a good way to build up strength around your knee joints, and alleviate any muscle tightness surrounding the knee joints. Try these out at home and your knees will thank you for it:
    • Quad stretch: Hold on to the back of a chair and step back with one foot. Knees should be bent and feet should be flat. Tuck your tailbone in under your hips to achieve a stretch in the back thigh and hip. Hold for a count of ten before repeating with your other leg.
    • Hamstring stretch: While seated, stretch one leg out before you straight, heel to the floor and toes pointing up. Your other foot should be flat on the floor, knee bent at a right angle. Lean forward gently without rounding your back, until you feel the stretch in the back of your straight leg. Hold for a count of ten before repeating with your other leg.
    • Calf raises: Holding on to the back of a chair, with feet hip-width apart, lift your heels from the floor until you are on your tip-toes. Hold for a few seconds, then gently lower. Complete a set of ten.

Find out more about Nature’s Own’s joint support range and read more advice on how to maintain your joint health.

References

  1. Fox 2009; p 465, Nature’s Own Joint Health Research paper
  2. http://www.racgp.org.au/your-practice/guidelines/handi/interventions/musculoskeletal/exercise-for-knee-osteoarthritis/
  3. http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/anatomy/knees

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