Keeping your knees and hips in prime condition is something that you may not think about when you’re young —but that is exactly the time to begin thinking in this direction! You may have grown up hearing your parents and grandparents complain about the pain they live with on a daily basis and just assumed that this was in your future, but it doesn’t have to be! When you stay active and find ways to protect your joints from undue pressure and stress, you’ll find that you’re able to stay much more pain-free than you might expect. Gentle stress on your joints and bones is a good thing — such as the stress that your body receives in gentle yoga classes —but heavy-duty exercising can really take a toll on your hips and knees. Did you know that if you’re feeling a little weak in the knees, that you can strengthen your hips to make up for the added stress? The muscles in your body work together very closely to ensure that you stay upright and stable no matter what type of exercise you’re engaged in. Joint injuries can be chronic but also preventable as long as you follow some simple rules to keep everything in alignment and safe. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a daily gym rat, it helps to stay informed about your body and to listen up when your joints are telling you to take it a little easier! Here’s 5 quick ways to protect your knees and hips when you’re exercising: 1. Don’t Overdo It. I get it — you’re motivated and ready to really get cranking on that new exercise routine! Unfortunately, starting out with a 90-minute marathon session on the StairMaster is probably not going to have the desired effect. Instead of coming off the machine feeling like a million bucks, you’re more likely to end up with a lot of time on a heating pad and with some ice . . . and definitely not be ready to hit the weights or treadmill again anytime soon. 2. Poor Technique. If you’re not sure how you should be performing a specific exercise or using a certain machine, don’t be afraid to ask a professional! Even the most simple-seeming exercises can have a negative effect on your body if you’re over-stressing joints, and knees and hips are some of the most often-injured parts of your body. 3. Repetition, repetition, repetition… When you repeat something a few times = Good. Repeating something until you cause physical pain to your body = Bad. Taxing the same muscles repeatedly can cause stress injuries such as torn or worn down cartilage or even stress fractures from activities such as running. Changing things up keeps your body safe from harm. 4. Forgetting to Stretch. Sure, stretching and warm-up time may seem like something you just do to get out of the way (or skip altogether if you’re running behind), but these are the most important parts of your workout. Cold muscles don’t stretch —they tear— and tearing is definitely not a good thing when it comes to muscles and tendons! Keep injuries to a minimum by committing to a solid warm up and cool down procedure every time you exercise. 5. Forgetting to Take a Rest. Every part of your body needs rest, not just your brain! When you push yourself hard day after day, the stress takes a toll on your body that it just doesn’t have time to recover from. Taking a day off every now and then isn’t lazy —it’s smart and will make you more effective overall! I hope that these tips will help you stay safe when you’re exercising and help you protect your knees and hips! Share your favorite tips on my Facebook page.
Until Next Time,
Growing Younger Everyday