Fitness Articles

5 Best Knee Exercises To Make Walking Less Painful

SHARON LIAO  www.prevention.com

Workout For Walkers With Bad Knees

You love walking. Your friends love walking. Everyone loves walking—everyone, that is, except for people with achy knees. Even this all-purpose, low-impact workout can be agony when your knees aren’t up to the task.

To relieve—or prevent—those aches from knee pain, target the muscles surrounding the joint, such as the thighs, hips, and glutes, says Jessica Smith, a certified trainer and creator of Walk Strong: Total Transformation 6 Week System. “Think of them as a support system,” she says. “The stronger those muscle groups are, the less force there is on your knees during everyday movements.”

The following moves will make your strolls easier. Smith recommends doing them 4 or 5 days a week, if possible; pay close attention to your form and stop if you feel any sharp or severe pain.

Squat Sit Hold

Squat sit hold

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATT RAINEY

Sit on a chair or bench and place a small squishy ball (or pillow) between your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and raise your arms out straight in front of your shoulders, palms facing down. Shift your weight forward and lift your hips slightly out of the chair, continuing to keep your arms straight in front of you while squeezing the ball with your inner thighs. Hold for 30 seconds.

Inner Rotation Leg Press

Inner rotation leg press

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATT RAINEY

Stand with your right side facing the back of the chair. Bend your right knee slightly, and lightly hold onto the chair for support. Lift your left leg up until it’s at about a 45-degree angle out from your hip. Keeping your abs tight, internally rotate your toes to the floor from the hip joint. Keeping the rotation, bend your left knee and bring it toward your chest. Push your foot out so your leg is extended. Repeat 20 times, then switch sides.

Bridge Ball Squeeze

Bridge ball squeeze

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATT RAINEY

Lie down on a flat surface. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor and place a small squishy ball (or pillow) between your inner thighs. Tuck in your tailbone and tense your abs as you lift your hips up. Squeezing the ball tight, pulse your inner thighs into the ball 30 times. Slowly roll your back and hips down to the floor.

Hamstring Ball Roll Out

Hamstring ball roll out

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATT RAINEY

Lie on a flat surface, and bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Place a small squishy ball beneath the toes of your left foot. Roll the ball out until your left leg is extended parallel to the floor. Roll it back in until you’re at the starting position. Repeat 5 times, then switch legs. If you don’t have a ball, you can slowly extend your leg, tap your heel, and bring your foot back to start. For an added challenge, you can do this move in the bridge position.

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Quad stretch

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATT RAINEY

Stand facing the back of the chair and rest your right hand on it for balance. Bend your left knee and hold onto the foot with your left hand, bringing your heel to your rear. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds; switch sides.

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