How Exercise Alleviates My Knee Pain
To alleviate my knee pain and boost my overall health, I embarked upon a weight loss journey at age 68. To accompany the changes in my diet, I knew I had to add exercise to my daily routine. Yet, finding exercises that would get my heart rate up while keeping pressure off my knees was difficult. I finally found several invigorating workouts that strengthen without harming my knees.
Every morning, I begin the day with about 20 to 25 minutes of exercise. Using a chair, a bed and a table, I do several repetitions of leg lifts, knee bends, and knee twists. Several times a week, I’ll spend 30 minutes on the stationary bicycle to build up the muscles around my knees, and sometimes I speed walk on the treadmill. In general, I try to walk as much as I can; when I golf, I like to walk to all the holes (without holding up play).
It’s not hard to lessen your knee pain! Here are some exercises that I’ve benefited from immensely:
Bent-Leg Lifts: Sit in a chair and straighten one leg in the air (without locking the knee). Hold for about one minute. Bend your knee to lower the leg about halfway to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to starting position. Work up to 4 reps on each leg.
Straight-Leg Lifts: Sit in a chair and rest your foot on another chair. Lift the foot a few inches off the chair while keeping your leg straight. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to resting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times. (Also work on increasing the hold time, up to 2 to 3 minutes if possible.)
Abductor Lift: Lie on your side, propped on one elbow with your leg on the floor bent and the other straight. Slowly raise the top leg, hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then lower. (Ankle weights will increase the intensity.) Do 1 to 3 sets with 12 to 15 repetitions each. Remember to rest in between sets!
Hamstring Curl: Stand with the front of your thighs against a surface (a table or wall). Flex one knee up as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then lower slowly. If possible, do not touch the floor between repetitions. (Ankle weights will increase the intensity.) Do 1 to 3 sets with 12 to 15 repetitions each. Remember to rest in between sets!
My pain has dramatically decreased as a result of my exercising. I can go through the day and do all the things I want to do with a great deal less pain. I’ve found that I can walk for longer periods of time and greater distances. I haven’t cured my osteoarthritis, of course, and eventually I will need knee replacements. However, I’ve pushed those surgeries farther and farther down the road, and my doctors have told me that the procedures will be about 50 percent easier because of the condition my knees are in. While sometimes I’m aware of slight pain, it doesn’t stop me from doing what I need to do.
Ken Smith doesn’t mind admitting that one of the big benefits to exercising regularly is being able to play more golf, relatively pain-free. He is the father of two children and lives in Atlanta with his wife, Linda.
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