Knees have a tough life. We ask a lot of our knees – kicking, kneeling, crossing when seated, holding up the rest of the body. Maybe it’s no big surprise then that knee injuries are so common. Probably everyone reading this right now either has knee problems or knows someone who does.
And maybe those knee problems are holding you back on your fitness journey. Sure, there are a lot of sports and exercises that demand healthy knees, but eh…that kinda sounds like an excuse. We don’t do excuses here.
But we get it – your safety is just as important as your fitness. That’s why we’re going to look at some knee-friendly exercises:
#1 – Step-ups
Step-ups keep your glutes, hamstrings, and quads in shape but have a low impact on your knees. A great upper leg workout. To do a step up, stand in front of an elevated surface, like a stair or a sturdy box. Then, step onto the surface with one leg and bring your other leg up until its knee is at a right angle. Step back down from the surface and repeat, alternating your starting leg with each rep.
#2 – Swimming
Who doesn’t love a trip to the pool? Swimming is one of the lowest impact sports around, but with proper technique it can give you a full body workout. For your knees’ sake, don’t push off the wall when starting laps, and avoid kicks that use sharp knee bends.
When you’ve got weak knees, it’s doubly important for you to maintain overall leg strength. The figure 8 rear lunge will help you do that while still giving the arms some love. To perform this move, start with one dumbbell in hand and stretch one leg behind you. Make sure to step out nice and far with your forward leg – it’s better for your knee that way. Then, pass the dumbbell from one hand to other, going underneath your forward leg. Alternate your starting leg and repeat.
#4 – Biking
Outdoor or indoor, bike or bike machine, doesn’t matter – this is a fun, flexible exercise that will build your endurance and burn calories. Consider it a must.
#5 – Flutter Kicks
What, you thought your abs were off the hook just cuz we’re talking about knees? Nope. Flutter kicks are good for your abs and your hip flexors. AND they help build flexibility, which is good for your knees. To do flutter kicks, lie flat on your back with your arms tucked to your sides, then raise both legs a few inches off the ground. Keeping your knees straight, make small, tight kicks without touching the ground.