How to Keep Your Knees Healthy When Working Out
Got knee problems? You’re not alone. For some of us, it’s due to poor body mechanics. For others, it’s thanks to broken-down workout shoes. The truth is, there are a myriad of reasons for pain. We all put a lot of stress on our knees. (Ladies, take note: You’re more prone to knee pain simply because you’ve got wider hips than men do. That can lead to poor knee alignment. Unfair, but true!)
Oftentimes the pain makes us less likely to exercise, which leads to excess sedentary time, which leads to…well, you get the idea.
Our Gixo expert on the topic is Coach Mary Beth Rockwell. She had surgery for a torn meniscus, and her recovery inspired her to earn a specialty certification in Orthopedic Exercise.
Here are Mary Beth’s tips for keeping your knees healthy — as well as how to be kind to them if you’re injured:
Replace your workout shoes regularly
For the average person, buying new shoes every 3 to 6 months is suggested — more frequently if you’re on the super-active side. If possible, go to a specialty fitness shoe store and get fitted by an expert. They can analyze your gait and help choose the right shoe for your specific needs. Ask your doctor if you might also benefit from the added support of orthotic inserts — maybe an “off the rack” solution, or even some that are custom-molded to fit your feet.
Aim to strengthen every muscle that leads into your knee joint
A lot of problems come from people forgetting to work all four sides of the thigh. Many of us focus on the front of our thighs (quadriceps), but neglect the back of them (hamstrings). Or some of us work the outer thigh, but forget the inner thigh. Work ’em all! (Fortunately, Gixo offers many strength-based workouts to help you in that regard.)
Admit when you’ve overdone it
Try resting and icing the knee to see if you can calm down the discomfort. But if your pain lasts more than a few days, see a doctor. The injury may not be anything major, but there’s no reason to risk delaying treatment. In fact, holding off on a doctor’s visit could potentially make your problem worse.
Keep your activity on the low-impact side
Once your doctor has given you the green light to exercise, stick with a low-impact approach to your workout. Our Gixo coaches are happy to advise you on modifying any exercise. Sometimes it’s as simple as marching in place rather than hopping. Or limiting your range of motion in a squat. Whatever it is, their goal is to get you through the class with as little pain as possible — so be sure to tell them up front that you have knee pain.
I can’t wait to coach you through a Gixo class. I’ll work with you to keep your knees safe and help you make smart choices in your recovery process!