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Knees are often the cause of complaint from our clients and it’s easy to see why when you understand the pressure they’re under and the awkward, often unnatural, ways we use them. 
 
Aside from losing some weight, and avoiding twisting sports (like football or skiing), here are some really simple ways to keep those important joints healthy and free from issues. 
 
1. Stay in Motion 
 
It's the number one rule of joint health: The more you move, the less stiffness you'll have. 
 
How can you do this? 
 
Whether you're reading, working, or watching TV, change positions often. Take breaks from your desk or your chair and get active. 
 
You can set yourself alarm reminders to remind you to do so, because sometimes we get carried away and lose track of time. 
 
Going to the gym regularly can increase functional strength and flexibility in the legs and doing more outdoor activities regularly on a weekly basis is a good plan. Starting your day off with a workout can be excellent for waking your body up and will provide you with more energy to take you through the day. 
 
2. Stay at a healthy weight for your height 
 
How can you do this? 
 
You need a well-balanced eating lifestyle. Look at controlling the timings of your meals in relation to your schedules and eating enough rather than too much. Yes, you can do this even over the festive period! 
 
Limit portion sizes to control your calorie intake. Don’t eat to the point that you are full; eat to the point where you have still space left. 
 
Be as physically active as you can daily. Getting involved in sport can be a good idea if gym is not your thing. This way you can socialise more too, and it gives you a motivational purpose to keep going back. 
 
3. Try and go low impact 
 
How can you do this? 
 
Don’t over-do it at the gym. Doing endless amounts of cardio is not going to make you maintain weight and lose weight consistently. It will cause wear and tear on your joints. Try working with shorter bursts of exercise but more intense and not as continuous. Of course, involve maybe three periods of continuous cardio into your routine. It’s more beneficial to add 20 to 30 minutes of cardio at the end of a workout as you will burn a lot more calories than you would at the start of a workout. So, leave your continuous cardio for after the weights. 
 
There’s no benefit really in doing high impact movements if you don’t need to be doing them. This is unless you do sport and there’s a purpose behind it. Try and do low impact cardio sessions and doing volume training as this will benefit you more in maintaining a good figure than lifting heavy weights and doing too much intensity. 
 
4. Power Up Your Trunk strength 
 
How can you do this? 
 
Glute isolation exercises 
Isometric core exercises. 
Postural exercises. 
Functional core strength exercises 
Functional full body exercises 
 
Consider cable machines and specific weighted workouts as they can be a great source of training to strengthen your core. Doing side crunches, leg raises and crunches etc aren’t the most effective way. Not sure what any of the above exercises are? Just ask us and we’ll be happy to run through them and include any adaptations you need for your body. 
 
5. Work on your Flexibility (Range of motion) 
 
How can you do this? These muscles should be stretched in isolation in your legs: 
 
Hip Flexors 
Gastrocnemius (calf) 
Quadricep muscles 
Glutes 
Hamstring muscles 
Peroneal muscles (shin area of the foot) 
Abductor muscles 
Adductor muscles 
Soloes 
 
Doing ankle mobilisation work in your ankles will also help mobilise the knees, specially into the hips and glutes. The three major muscles to focus most on to stretch would be the front thighs (Quadriceps), the hamstrings (back upper section of your legs) and your hips/glutes. 
 
To maintain your current flexibility: Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. 
To improve flexibility: Hold for 30 seconds to 90 seconds and repetitively. 
 
Try to repeat exercises more than once and use a variety of stretches for each muscle and not just one all the time. There are different types of stretching which you can use: 
 
ballistic stretching. 
dynamic stretching. 
active stretching. 
passive (or relaxed) stretching. 
static stretching. 
isometric stretching. 
PNF stretching 
 
Dynamic stretches are used more in warming up for workouts or just in general as a warm-up to do static stretches in depth. PNF is the type of stretching I most recommend for improving flexibility. 
 
Everyone is different… 
 
We’re not all ‘text book’ and in many cases we have to work with the person we’re treating based on their body and what it goes through. Do try the methods above to find out what works best for you. 
 
If you need more help - contact us. 
 
Feeling sore? Book a massage and we’ll get you feeling relaxed and healthier in no time 
Tagged as: health, injuries, knees, physio
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