Don’t knock your knees
- Avoid high heels. They force thigh muscles to work harder, putting added pressure on the knee and leading to osteoarthritis.
- Walk, swim and cycle to build knees.
- Don’t close doors, drawers or cabinets with your knees.
- Lose excess pounds. They put added strain on your knees.
When it comes to the knee, women and men are not created equal. Wider hips and weaker thigh muscles put the female joint under special strain, making women more likely than men to suffer knee osteoarthritis and be more injury prone. But these exercises can help your knees withstand wear and tear.
- Isometric quadriceps builder
Sit on the floor with legs extended in front of you. Place a rolled-up towel under your knees, then tighten your quadriceps. Hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat. Do 3 repetitions.
- Straight leg lifts
Lie on your back with legs extended and a rolled-up towel placed under one knee. Lift your foot until the leg is straight. Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower to the floor. Do one set of 10 repetitions per leg.
- Inner-thigh conditioner
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place a pillow between your knees and squeeze to hold pillow in place. Hold for 10 seconds; repeat 6 times.
- Quadriceps extension
Sit on the edge of a chair. Keeping your back straight, lift one leg and fully extend it; flex the foot. Return your leg to the floor, keeping your foot flexed. Do 10 repetitions on each leg.
- Quadriceps stretch
Stand up and bend one leg behind you. Keeping your hips even, grab the ankle of the bent leg and pull the foot toward your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds; return leg to the floor and switch legs. (If necessary, use your free hand to lean against a wall for support.) Do 3 repetitions.
- Hamstring stretches
Sit on the floor with one leg extended and the other knee bent toward your body. Keeping your back straight, lean toward your toes. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat on other leg.
Lie on your back with one foot on the floor and the other extended toward the ceiling. Loop a towel around the foot of the raised leg and pull it toward you as far as you can.
© 2013 Dowden Health Media