10 Tips to Strengthen Your Knees and Keep Them Healthy
The knees are the biggest joints in the body. They perform a very important function and give the legs stability, flexibility and support and with their help we are able to turn around, crouch, jump, run, stand and walk with no problem. Because of that it is very significant to maintain the health and the strength of the knees.
Even though it is most common for elderly people to experience problems with the knees as they lose their strength over the years, but even young people can have knee problems. When the knees lose their strength it has an impact on the movements of the person and even the simplest movements become more difficult like walking, lifting things and standing up.
There are many factors that can be the cause for knee problems. The knees can lose their strength due to smoking, drinking, as a consequence of osteoarthritis in the knee, a sedentary lifestyle, excess sodium intake, strain or injury in the knee and nutritional deficiency. Damage or a tear in any part of the knee can cause osteoarthritis.
But there is something that you can do to improve the health and strength in your knees like make some lifestyle and dietary changes.
Here are the 10 best tips that will help you to make your knees stronger
Massage therapy is a very effective treatment to help your knee pain and make your knees stronger. Massage can improve the blood circulation, and with this your knees will get more nutrients and become stronger.
Massage your knees with gentle but firm movements, with the use of coconut, olive oil or mustard. Massage them for about 10-15 minutes in both directions — clockwise and counter-clockwise. You can massage the knees two times a day and in case you are experiencing chronic knee pain, you should consult a professional massage therapist.
Swimming is a low-impact aerobic exercise that can be very beneficial in case of arthritis or knee pain. It can ameliorate the fitness of your body and also it can make the bones stronger, reduce the stiffness of the knee, and also make the muscles around the knee joints even stronger.
Practice swimming about 5 days weekly for about 30 minutes a day. The swimming strokes that are helpful for the knees are butterfly stroke, front crawl and backstroke. But do not do breaststroke because it difficult for the knees and applies more pressure on them.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential and the most important nutrient for good health of the joints and bones. Vitamin D deficiency can cause increased risk of minimal trauma fractures and bone loss. And with vitamin D deficiency the body cannot absorb the needed amount of calcium as well.
Sunlight exposure helps the body to make enough vitamin D, so every morning you should expose your knees to direct sunlight for about 15 minutes. You can also increase the levels of vitamin D with foods like dairy products, egg yolks, fortified cereals, fish and cod liver oil. But first consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential in the production of collagen- which is the main component of knee cartilage. It is very important for proper development of bones, synthesis of collagen and the quality of bone matrix. Vitamin C can lower the risk of fractures and also ameliorate the mass density of bones.
Foods rich in vitamin C are Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, kiwi, berries, strawberries, papaya, oranges, lemon, broccoli and bell peppers. If you want to take vitamin C supplement first consult your doctor.
5. Anti-inflammatory Foods
Pain in the knees and weaker knees can be a result of inflammation, so it is important to eat more anti-inflammatory foods like walnuts, sweet potatoes, spinach, blueberries, avocados, tart cherries, ginger, turmeric, olive oil, salmon and flaxseeds.
And it is also very important to avoid inflammatory food like foods high in saturated fats, sugary foods, soda, white-flour products, and white rice.
6. Exercises for knee strengthening
Regular exercising can ameliorate the state that your knees are in, and it can actually make the muscles around the knees stronger, also maintain the joints in proper position and aligned, and make the bones stronger. Exercises that are good for the knees are straight-leg raises, knee bends and squats with a Swiss ball, single-leg squats, hamstring stretches with thigh contraction, step-ups and lunges.
It is recommended to consult a professional to teach you how to do these exercises properly and you should do them 4-5 times weekly for about 30 minutes a day. But if the pain and the stiffness in the knees gets worse, you should consult your doctor to tell which ones are good for your condition.
7. Epsom Salt
Decreased levels of magnesium are a common thing for people who are experiencing pain and weekend knees as a symptom of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. So, Epsom Salt can be very helpful in this case because it is abundant in magnesium. It has the power to reduce the knee joints’ inflammation very fast. And it is very important for the muscles as well, because it can be beneficial in the process of calcium absorption.
Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1/2 cup of warm water. Then soak a washcloth in the mixture and put it on the knees for about 15-20 minutes and after wash the knees with lukewarm water. You can also make a bath with one cup of Epsom salt and relax in it for about 20 minutes. Do this 1-2 times a week.
Calcium is essential for the health of the bones, so if we have calcium deficiency it can lead to weaker and thinner bones and cause osteoporosis. And our body cannot make calcium in a natural way, so we need to take calcium supplements or use dietary sources to increase the levels of calcium in the body.
These natural products are full with calcium: calcium-fortified orange juice, blackstrap molasses, sardines, calcium-fortified cereals, edamame, cheese, almonds, dark leafy greens and milk. If you decide to take calcium supplements, it is recommended to take the ones with vitamin D in order to aid the absorption of the calcium in the body. You need to consult the doctor about the correct dose.
9. Fish Oil
Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids-docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are helpful in strenghtening the knee joint and also ameliorate the bone density. Fish oil also has the power to reduce stiffness and joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
In 2006 was conducted a study and it was published in The International Journal of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience, which showed that the joint health was ameliorated in patients who took EPA from fish oil in about 1,200 mg every day. So it is recommended to eat fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel-which are cold-water fish at least two times a week.
Or you can take 6 g of fish oil twice a day (at least 30% EPA/DHA). But before you take any supplements you need to consult your doctor.
10. Healthy Weight
being overweight means that your knees are suffering a lot of pressure. This results in weaker knees because the work of the knee joints is increased. Another bad effect of being overweight is that it increases the risk of replacement of the knee or hip.
So it is recommended for overweight people to lose their weigh naturally due to many different reasons, and one of the reasons is for stronger knees and better stability.
- Do not wear high heels
- Quit drinking and smoking
- Do not sit or stand in the same position for longer time
- Do not do sports with sudden movements like twisting, starting and stopping and jumping
- Walk and cycle on a regular basis to make your knees stronger
- Do not consume a lot of salt, because it can result in calcium loss
- Avoid activities that can worsen your knee pain
- Do various yoga poses to help you with this condition
- Consume a lot of fluids of make the cartilage softer