250416 Starting out with an exercise program for your arthritic knees
Please make note of the fact that I am not a doctor or a physical therapist. I am a strength coach with many years of experience helping people live better lives by becoming stronger and more physically able to pursue their lives pain free.
Start out slowly with low intensity exercises and a short time exercise session. By beginning this way, you allow your body and mind to adapt to exercising. For example, most people are able to go at least five minutes on a stationary bicycle the first time they get on it. By gradually increasing your time, you not only build up your cardiovascular capabilities but you’re also strengthening the muscles around your knee joint.
Is virtually impossible to isolate one joint, therefore effectively conditioning your knees is going to involve exercises that include the major muscles of the mid to lower body. These major muscle groups include your lower abdomen, hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and ankles. By working for such major muscle groups, you not only strengthen the targeted joints but you also increase your balance capabilities.
Improving your balance cannot only help prevent a fall but it also keeps your knee in a good position to decrease pain during movement.
Sometimes you have to modify the exercises by not doing full range of motion, lessening the load, or doing them with bands or in water. One example of this modification is with an individual with arthritis in the patella femoral joint (kneecap). Rather than going full range of motion with the squat or leg curl, cut back on the range of motion to where there is little, to no, pain involved in the movement. If this still causes pain then do quad sets. A quad set exercise means you straighten your leg out, tighten the quads as solidly as possible, and hold for increasing lengths of time.
One way to begin strengthening your arthritic knee is to do an alphabet tracing routine. In performing this series of exercises, you begin on the floor facing the ceiling. Stretch one leg out and with the other bent at the knee raise your hips off the floor. Now, with the extended leg slowly trace the letters of the alphabet in big movements. Change legs and do the same thing 3 to 5 times.
After you are able to do the alphabet, it is time to add additional exercises. The next exercise is the quad set where you simply extend your leg and tighten up the quadriceps muscles for increasing intensity and length of time.
Once you are able to hold it for a specified amount of time, then you can start adding ankle weights and start over with the quad set and the time.
The important thing here is not to give up. There are multitudes of things you can do to lessen the pain of osteoarthritis. Sometimes you just have to look a little further for them.