The knee is the largest joint in the body that provides stable support to your whole body. Knees also provide flexibility and stability in your legs so that you can stand, walk, run, crouch, jump and turn around with ease. Thus, it is essential to keep your knees strong and healthy.
Knees become weak with age, but people can have knee problems at any age. Weak knees can affect your mobility and make it difficult for you to carry out everyday activities, such as lifting boxes or walking downhill.
Weak knees can occur as a result of an injury or strain on the knees, nutritional deficiency, a sedentary lifestyle and excess sodium intake, smoking or drinking. It can also be due to osteoarthritis in the knee, which results from wear and tear on its parts.
If you suffer from weak knees or pain, you can make some lifestyle and dietary changes to strengthen them.
Here are the top 10 ways to strengthen your knees.
1. Knee-Strengthening Exercises
There are many exercises that target weak knees. Such exercises help strengthen the muscles around your joints, keep the joints properly aligned and positioned as well as strengthen the bones in your knees.
Some exercises that are good for your knees include step-ups, lunges, single-leg squats, hamstring stretches with thigh contraction, straight-leg raises, knee bends and squats with a Swiss ball.
For best results, aim for 30 minutes of knee-strengthening exercises at least 4 or 5 times a week. Try to learn these exercises from an expert.
If exercises aggravate your knee pain or stiffness, stop doing them and consult your doctor. You can always discuss the suitability of these exercises with your doctor.
Check out this video demonstrating how to do some of these exercises.
Massage therapy is another beneficial means of adding strength to your knees and addressing your knee pain. Regular massage helps improve circulation so that more nutrients reach the weak muscles and joints to make them stronger.
- Rub some warm olive, coconut or mustard oil on your knees.
- Using gentle yet firm strokes, massage the knees in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do this twice daily as needed.
If you have chronic knee pain, seek the help of an experienced massage therapist.
3. Epsom Salt
People who have weak knees or suffer from knee pain due to conditions like osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis often have abnormally low levels of magnesium. In such situations, Epsom salt can help reduce the discomfort.
Being high in magnesium, Epsom salt can provide quick relief and reduce inflammation around your knee joints. Furthermore, magnesium is required for proper muscle functioning and it even aids calcium absorption.
- Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in ½ cup of warm water. Using a washcloth, apply it on your knees and wait 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.
- Another option is to soak your body in a tub of warm water mixed with 1 cup of Epsom salt for at least 20 minutes.
Use either of the methods once or twice a week only.
Swimming is a low-impact aerobic exercise for weak knees. It allows you to exercise your knees with less pressure on the joints, making it also a great option for people suffering from knee pain or arthritis.
It can reduce your knee stiffness, strengthen the muscles around your knee joints and strengthen your bones. Plus, it improves your overall fitness.
Aim for 30 minutes of swimming 5 days per week. Strokes like the front crawl, backstroke and butterfly are beneficial for knee joints. Avoid the breaststroke, as it places the most pressure on the knee joints.
Calcium is essential for bone health and its deficiency can lead to thinning and weakening of the bones and osteoporosis. As the body cannot produce calcium naturally, dietary sources and supplements are the best options to prevent its deficiency.
- Natural sources of calcium are dark leafy greens, milk, almond milk, cheese, almonds, edamame, sardines, calcium-fortified cereals, fortified orange juice, and blackstrap molasses.
- If you decide to take supplements, choose one that also contains vitamin D to help your body absorb the calcium. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.
6. Vitamin D
For optimal bone and joint health, vitamin D is considered a threshold nutrient. A vitamin D deficiency can cause bone loss and an increased risk of minimal trauma fractures. Plus, the body cannot absorb enough calcium without adequate amounts of vitamin D.
- The body manufactures vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight, so expose your knees to early morning sunlight for 15 minutes daily.
- Also, get vitamin D from dietary sources, such as fish, cod liver oil, egg yolks and fortified cereals and dairy products. If you want to take a vitamin D supplement, consult your doctor first.