Joint support through movement

We use our knees to walk, run, jump, sit, stand, and climb. As a result, it’s one of the easiest body parts to injure. Luckily, there are several knee-strengthening exercises to curb pain and prevent injury. Remember to check with your doctor before performing these exercises.

1. Bodyweight squat

Stand up straight with your legs hip-width apart. Shift your weight to your heels. Bend at your knees as if you’re sitting in a chair while shifting your torso forward to maintain balance. Lower yourself down only until your heels slightly lift off the floor. Using your thigh muscles, lift yourself back to the starting position. Perform this exercise five to eight times.

2. Standing quadriceps stretch

You should feel this stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold onto a wall or chair for extra support. Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Bend your left knee. With your left hand, grasp your left ankle and pull your heel toward your buttock. Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat two or three times. Perform this exercise on your right side.

3. Glute bridge

Lie on your back with your legs hip-width apart, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles strong. As you exhale, use your glutes to slowly lift your hips a few inches off the ground. Do not overarch your back. Inhale as you lower your hips down to the ground. Repeat this exercise eight times.

4. Supine hamstring stretch

Lie with your back flat against the floor with both knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Bring your right knee to your chest. Extend your right leg straight toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch behind your knee. With both hands, grab either your leg or thigh depending on your comfort level. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat two to three times. Perform this stretch on your left leg.

5. Calf raises

You will need a chair to maintain balance. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Hold onto the back of a chair for support. Lift your left foot off the floor. Raise your right heel so you’re standing on your tiptoes. Lower your heel back down. Repeat two sets of 10. Perform exercise on your left leg.

6. Leg extensions

Sit in a chair with both feet flat on the ground. Make sure you keep your back straight and abdominal muscles contracted. Raise your right leg until your leg is in a straight line from thigh to foot. Hold this position for five seconds. Return your leg to the starting position. Perform three sets of 10. Repeat on your left leg.

By Gina Kelly