If you haven’t thought about your knees lately, that’s a good thing. It means they probably aren’t hurting you. Knees, when they aren’t working as they should or are burdened by extra weight or other strains, make it difficult, even painful, to walk or do everyday tasks.
To keep your knees healthy, the first tip is to be sure you are at a healthy weight. Even if your weight inches up just a pound, that has an impact on your knees. Experts say one pound puts four additional pounds of pressure on your knees when you’re walking or going up stairs.
You may feel able to leap tall buildings, but don’t bound up stairs if you’re not in tip-top physical shape. If you weigh 150 pounds, bounding up a staircase can put as much as 600 pounds of pressure on your knees.
If you’ve had a knee injury or osteoarthritis, choose a sidewalk or well-worn path for walking rather than a grassy or uneven surface. The smoother surface can protect your knees from strain and decrease your chances of tripping.
Doing lunges and squats at the gym can be great exercise for your lower body. But don’t overdo it by bending beyond a 90-degree angle. Also, check to be sure your knee is directly over your foot.
Don’t neglect your inner thighs when exercising. Strong hip adductor muscles can assume some of the strain when you’re walking, lightening the burden on your knees. Simply squeezing your knees together when you’re sitting is an easy way to start building inner thigh strength.
When you’re biking or taking a spin class, don’t set the seat too low. Make sure your knee fully straightens when the pedal reaches the lowest point.