Do you hear a creak when you get up from a chair? Is it becoming more difficult to kneel down to do your gardening? If so, you know what “old man time” can do to your knees. That snap, crackle, and pop is not what you want to hear. The good news is, how to keep your knees healthy as you age is really not as difficult as you may think.
My Poor Old Knees
You may hear your parents complaining about their knees all the time and think it’s just a part of getting older. That’s partially true, but there are some proactive steps you can take to keep your knees healthy as you age.
How We Abuse Our Knees
It’s true our knee joints can succumb to wear and tear over the years, and other factors can make the deterioration even worse. An injury, being overweight, or lack of muscle strength all contribute to pain and loss of mobility as we get older.
Osteoporosis is a major cause of knee pain, and it happens to be the most common type of arthritis. The cartilage that helps to cushion your knee joint degenerates leading to aches, stiffness, swelling, and immobility.
Repetitive stress like from running or kneeling can be a major cause of osteoporosis. Our body requires muscle strength and flexibility to support our range of motion or we can end up becoming injured.
What can we do to keep our knees healthy – no matter our age?
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Any extra weight puts added stress on your knees. Each pound over your ideal weight puts 4 pounds more pressure on your joint. Gaining 20 pounds adds 80 pounds of pressure on your knees. Get your body mass index or BMI to a healthy level, and you can reduce pressure on your knees and reduce pain. Calculate your own BMI here.
Work To Strengthen the Muscles That Support Your Knees
Concentrate on exercises that target hamstrings, glutes, quads and all the lower and upper leg muscles. This will help to absorb the stress on your knees. Then stretch them with yoga.
Low Impact Exercises Are Best
This will help protect the important cartilage in your knees. Do cycling, swimming, and pilates.
Stay Active, But Avoid Certain Sports
It is important to stay in motion and perform activities to keep you loose and flexible. Avoid sports like basketball or football which requires quick stops and pivots.
Wear The Right Shoes
Pick shoes that coordinate with your activity and avoid high heels.
Know Your Risk Factors
If family members have osteoporosis, start early to prevent it from happening to you.