Keeping your knees healthy and strong is important so that your mobility isn’t negatively affected as you age. Increasing your knee strength is possible if you know the correct way to do it.
Following are seven methods you can use to increase the strength of your knees.
- Loosen up the IT band
Before starting any strenuous activity, warming and stretching up the IT band (iliotibial band) keeps the knees strong. Alternatively, if you take a short, brisk walk before you start complicated exercises, your IT band will get the chance to loosen up.
- Work the quadriceps
Quadriceps is a set of muscles present in front of the thighs. When you have strong quadriceps, your knees will be strengthened, and your legs will have more mobility. Try out a few exercises that focus on these muscles.
Low-impact exercise machines like the elliptical machine or the stationary bike can assist you in working the quadriceps with minimal impact. These are relatively safer exercises for those with arthritis or knee surgery.
- Strengthen the hamstrings
The hamstring is the group of muscles present towards the back of your thighs. Stretching your hamstrings at least once a day and exercising the hamstring at least twice a week not only relieves knee pain, it also strengthens the hamstrings, and improves your overall mobility too.
- Exercise the glutes and hips
The hip glutes and flexors are needed for the mobility and movement of the leg. By keeping the two strong, you will avoid putting excess strain on your knee. In fact, there are many exercises for the glutes and hips which also strengthen the hamstrings. As a result, the knee is also strengthened. Two common exercises for this are the clamshell and short range squats.
- Try out recreational activities
Look for different recreational activities that can help build the full-body muscle tone. Note that if the muscles in the legs aren’t strong, then the knees won’t be strong too. Yoga is one of those low impact activities that help tone the leg muscles.
Similarly, swimming is ideal for building knee and leg strength along with flexibility since it is classified as a no-impact activity. Moreover, biking and walking keep the knees and legs in shape for strenuous activities.
- Be mindful of activities that can injure you
While jumping, you need to be very careful. Various jumping exercises like jump rope help to build the leg muscles. However, it is easy to injure the knees if you don’t do it properly. If you want stronger knees, you need to practice landing while you are in a half-squat position while your shins are vertical and your knees are bent.
The same goes for other activities. If there are some activities that hurt, then you should stop doing them. If you feel pain during certain activities, then there is hardly any chance that you will strengthen your knee with them. Instead, try out low impact exercises to rest your knee.
- Change your diet
Try to add more anti-inflammatory foods to your daily diet. The joints of the body start to become weak and become painful if they are inflamed. So, adding anti-inflammatory foods can help to strengthen the knee. Some anti-inflammatory foods include whole vegetables and fruits, avocados, olive oil, flax seeds, and fish.
Also, make sure that you have sufficient amount of vitamin E in your diet. It is believed that vitamin E hinders the enzymes that break the cartilage present in the joints.
A few excellent sources of vitamin E include kiwi, mango, peanuts, broccoli, and spinach. Calcium is equally important. For strong knees, you need to have healthy bones. Try to add more leafy greens, cow milk, goat milk, cheese, soy, and yogurt to your diet.