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5 Healthy Knee Needs


Your knees are a critical part of your ability to perform everyday living functions. Your ability to stand upright, walk, kneel, or sit comfortably is all thanks to your knees. When they're healthy, you probably don't even think about all they do for you, but you might realize you took them for granted when they aren't. The good news is that there is plenty you can do right now that can keep your knees healthy for a lifetime.

Maintain A Healthy Weight – Being even a few extra pounds over the healthy weight for your height can significantly and unnecessarily impact your knees. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, "every pound of body weight places four to six pounds of pressure on each knee joint." So, you can imagine what an extra 10 pounds of weight on the body can add to undue pressure on the knee joints. The good news is that following the tips below can provide double duty in helping to keep your knees healthy and your weight in check.

Get Regular Exercise – I know it seems counterintuitive, especially if you have knee arthritis or stiff knees, but regular exercise does help! Research has shown that consistent, low-impact activity can do quite a bit to help a person increase knee flexibility, reduce joint pain, and fight fatigue. If the idea of "working out" seems overwhelming, start slowly. Daily bicycling, in any form, will help to decrease symptoms and improve pain while you build strength and stamina. In addition, a walk around the block, most days out of the week, is a solid place to start, and you'll start feeling the positive knee health benefits sooner than you may think.

Achieve Surrounding Strength – While adequate exercise is essential to overall knee health, specific muscles and body systems provide a significant amount of strength and stability to the knee while also protecting it from injury. Weight training exercises focused on the gluteal muscles, hamstrings, and hip flexors are an excellent way to build up those areas that act as bodyguards against injury to the knee.

Prioritize Adequate Rest – I just told you to exercise, and now my advice is to rest. What gives? Well, as the saying goes, there can be "too much of a good thing." Your knees are as susceptible to overuse as they are to underuse, especially if the offending activity isn't one you engage in regularly. If you've encountered a particularly strenuous day for your knees – gardening, chasing grandkids around the backyard, or walking for hours at a museum, for example – building in adequate rest time for your knees is crucial. After intense periods of activity, give your knees a break so they can recuperate.

Seek Proper Nutrition – It may not seem like what you eat has anything specific to do with the health of your knees, but it does. You can help provide anatomical strength to your knees by consuming enough calcium or vitamin D, for example. These two essential nutrients are critical to bone strength and can be found in leafy greens, foods fortified with calcium like milk, and certain cereals. Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are excellent sources of vitamin D, as is exposure to morning sunlight. Additionally, make sure you're staying hydrated. As the largest joint in your body, the knee needs lubrication to work correctly, so drinking plenty of water daily helps keep the knee well-oiled.

Armed with these five tips for healthy knees, you'll live the active life you love well into the future.


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