The Best Workouts for Those With Knee Injuries
This entry was posted on October 30, 2018.
Running is great exercise. You get to work on your endurance, your cardiovascular health, you’re outside in the fresh air, perhaps in Fontainebleau State Park, just outside of Shreveport…. Unfortunately, for many of us, running isn’t an option.
For people with knee injuries, the running shoes must be put away, perhaps temporarily, maybe permanently. So how else does one stay fit?
Exercises to Help Heal Knee Injuries
One way to protect your knees from injury—or even to help your knee recover—is to do exercises designed to strengthen the muscles that stabilize the knee joint. If you’ve actually been injured recently, it’s best to seek the advice of a qualified physical therapist. There are several to choose from in the Shreveport area, or you can go farther afield. A good professional can help make sure that you do the exercises correctly and don’t push yourself too hard (or not hard enough).
But if you’re just looking for a good knee-work-out, try some of these on for size. As a basic rule of thumb (or rule of the knee), do 10-12 reps of each, two or three times per week, except where noted otherwise.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward. Slowly bend at the hips and knees as though sitting down, but make sure to keep your abs tight, your back straight, and your lower legs vertical. If your lower legs angle forward at all, bringing your knees out over your toes, you will stress your knees rather than healing them. Go about halfway to a sitting position and come back up. Repeat.
Stand with your toes pointing forward feet flat on the floor. Now, slowly rise up onto your toes, hold briefly, and lower back down again. You may need to hold on to something for balance.
Find some steps or an aerobic step bench. Step up. Step back down (without turning around). Now do it again but lead with the other leg. You have just completed one rep. Now, do some more. The trick is to keep your lower legs vertical so that your knee is always directly over your foot.
Lie on the floor on your back with your legs straight but with a slight, comfortable bend at the knee. Loop a towel or a rope around one foot and then lift that leg, pulling on the towel or rope with your hands so that you can lift your leg farther than you normally can—don’t over-do it, the idea is to just feel a gentle stretch along the back of your leg. Hold for ten to 30 seconds, then relax down and repeat with the other leg. Do three or four times in a row, five or six times per week.
Sit on the floor with your back against a wall. Extend one leg straight out along the floor but the other should be bent with the foot flat on the floor. Slowly raise the straight leg as high as is comfortable, hold, then lower it back down. Then do it again with the other leg.
There are plenty of other exercises you can do to strengthen your knees, but avoid any that involve putting pressure on the knee while the lower leg is angled forward so the knee s no longer over the back half of the foot.
Cardio that Won’t Hurt Your Knees
Then there’s the challenge of getting in a cardio workout without running on those knees. Fortunately, there are a lot of options, both out in nature and while making use of Shreveport gym exercise equipment.
Swimming is a great whole-body workout that is very easy on the joints. A fast stroke, like the crawl, can burn calories faster than running. And it’s a great way to cool down on a hot day.
Elliptical machines simulate cross-country skiing, but also feel little like a mix between running and riding a bike. Since there is no heavy foot-fall, there is very little pressure on the knees and other joints, and you can adjust your speed and resistance, depending on how much of a challenge you want.
Rowing, whether in a boat or on a rowing machine, is great for strengthening your core as well as good for cardio. And since you are sitting down, your knees can take a well-deserved break.
Looking for a sleek and effective rowing machine for your Shreveport home gym? Check out the impressive WaterRower M1 Hi-Rise Rowing Machine.
Cycling is a great form of outdoor exercise, and if you stick to flat ground it’s very gentle on the knees. It’s even possible to favor an injured knee by pedaling harder with the uninjured side. Or, you can work out on a stationary cycle—you’ll never wreck or get a flat tire, and the opportunity to cycle while watching TV is a great reason to acquire some exercise equipment for your home gym in Shreveport.
Dancing hard enough to make it a cardio workout is a bit of a mixed bag. Unless you have an aerobic routine choreographed, it’s hard to maintain proper form while dancing, and if you jump around a lot you may well stress your knees. But it is possible to dance hard enough to get your heart-rate up without bothering your knees at all. And the fact of the matter is it can be difficult to stay motivated enough to work hard on an exercise bike or a rowing machine, and without that push, you just won’t get your heart into the cardio range. But with dancing? Just get enough good, fast songs in a row.
A knee injury might be a temporary or permanent interruption of your running habit, but that’s no reason to abandon fitness. Just switch methods. In fact, switching up your exercise routines is a good idea anyway, since you’ll work for different muscle groups and give yourself a greater challenge. Whether outside, at the gym, or on your Shreveport home workout equipment, just keep moving.