One of the most beneficial steps you can take to keep your knees in good shape is to maintain a healthy weight. Many times, knee pain can be diminished or eliminated by losing excess pounds. Obesity increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
If it hurts to exercise, do what you can without causing pain. But focus on losing weight by changing the way you eat. Healthy eating is critical to weight loss.
Here are some other ways to avoid knee pain and injury:
- Warm up before you exercise. It really does help.
- Perform strength-training exercises to keep all the muscles in your legs strong. This is particularly important for people who are prone to knee problems. Consult a physical therapist if you have pain to make sure you don’t aggravate an injury in the weight room. If you’ve never used weight machines or done lunges before, seek the advice of a certified personal trainer.
- Wear the right shoes for the right activity. Running shoes belong on the treadmill, not in the dance aerobics class. As for running, take your jaunt outside to a softer surface like a dirt path or sandy beach. Replace your shoes frequently, too.
- Make sure you do different kinds of exercise to avoid repetitive use injuries. If all you do is run, some of your leg muscles will not be as strong as others. Try other things such as rowing, cycling and swimming.
If you do have knee pain, see a specialist.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health
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Alice Warchol is a fitness instructor and freelance health writer.