Do you imagine yourself not being able to walk or to be active, doing the things you love? Is this thought scary for you? We are not talking about disabilities, but about injuries and joint problems.
According to a study published by Gallup-Healthways, 26% of the adult population in the US suffers from knee pain. Considering that when you simply walk up stairs, the pressure across your knee joints is four times your body weight, it’s not all that surprising.
Gym addicts, WOD lovers and lifters – from novices to pros - tend to ignore the high amount of pressure they put on their knees even though the smallest knee injury can put your workouts on hold for weeks on end. In fact, these are four different types of knee injuries you’re subjecting yourself to, when you’re not properly taking care of your knees and joints:
But what can you do to protect your knees AND improve your workouts?
The key aspects for protecting your knees and improving your training sessions are:
Knee wraps/ sleeves play an important role in injury prevention as they protect your knees by absorbing a part of the pressure you put on them during a regular workout. They do this by providing your knee adequate support and stability so that you don’t accidentally hurt yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, knee wraps/ sleeves are comfortable and flexible and will not interfere with your workout – in fact, they can give you at least a 10-15 percent increase in how much you can lift. They will help you overcome psychological insecurities regarding knee stability and better focus on your workouts.
The proper warm-up ensures that blood and oxygen pump through your legs and that your knees are well-lubricated. Psychologically, it’s an important form of mental preparation to get you through your regimen. The warm-up also increases body temperature, which, in turn, reduces the potential of injuries. It also prepares your entire body for performing better.
Knee strengthening exercises are a great way to help you deal with knee pain or avoid it altogether. People who do them actually suffer from less pain, recover faster from injuries, their knees and joints function better and they have less chance of similar problems reoccurring in the future.
It’s really important to keep your joints healthy and strong so that you can keep being active and do the things you want. And the best way to care for your joints is to keep them, your muscles, ligaments and bones strong and stable.
These are 7 best tips for keeping your joints healthy.
#1. Increase flexibility
Stretching, whether is static or dynamic, helps you by maintaining range of motion around joints. The best way to start a workout session is to warm up all major muscle groups, and the way to finish it is to stretch for increasing flexibility. A proper warm up will allow your tendons to flex, help loosen up muscles and work better and gets the blood flowing through your body. This will make them able to handle the added weights or exercises loads you put on them.
#2. Exercise regularly
This will help you maintain a healthy weight, get rid of stiffness and improve posture, all very beneficial for healthy joints. If you don’t have a workout routine and spend most of your hours sitting at a desk, at least remember to take several breaks and move around. You also need to shift your position often.
#3. Protect your joints
Take care of your body by wearing appropriate protective equipment. You will need knee sleeves, knee wraps, calf sleeves or knee braces, depending on the exercises you’re performing. For example, when doing squats your knees may be impacted by the amount of weight you are using. This could lead to pain in your knees if you don’t use protection.
You need variety in your workout routine. Cross training is perfect because it helps prevent the overuse of muscles and joints – which is the slow and steady way to knee injuries. Opt for a range of varied activities by alternating workouts.
#5. Core exercises
Doing regular abdominal exercises can really help support your joints by strengthening the muscles in your abs, back and hips. It will help you with balance and the better the balance and core strength you have, the lower the risk of falling or injuring yourself in any other way.
#6. Eating right nourishes your joints
A healthy diet is good for your joints, because it helps build strong bones and muscles. Also, physical activity combined with a balanced diet will help you manage your weight, and this will put less stress on your joints.
A healthy diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. It also includes protein – lean meat, seafood, eggs and nuts, and foods low in solid fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, added sugars and refined grains.
#7. Don’t overdo it
Regardless of the type of exercises you do, or how heavy the workout, your body needs time to repair itself. All your muscles, tendons and ligaments need rest and time to repair after a hard workout. This is beneficial because in time they with become stronger.
Taking care of your knees will cost you a lot less time and effort than rehabilitating them down the road. It’s always better to prevent than to repair!
Remember. Just 3 small things:
Keep training hard and enjoy your results!
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