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4 Knee-Safe Exercises: Keep Those Joints Healthy

Posted Nov 20 2009 10:01pm
By Raphael Calzadilla
eDiets Chief Fitness Pro

Perform an Internet search concerning injuries and you'll find a lot of information about how to treat them. But where are all the articles about attempting to prevent knee injuries?

In the simplest of descriptions, the knee is a joint comprised of three bones and held together by four ligaments. Its job is to support the body and allow for shock absorption. From this description, it's obvious that excess body fat will place tremendous stress on the knees. The first strategy to adopt to prevent knee injuries is to reduce body fat. The second is to perform exercises that strengthen the surrounding muscles of the knees.

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Here are several suggested exercises to help prevent knee injury:

Squats build strength in the lower body with an emphasis on the quadriceps (front of the thigh). If one is overweight, then chair squats without the use of weights can be performed. A lowering to a parallel position is not critical for those with excess weight. In fact, a partial lowering may be a better strategy to initially protect the knee while strengthening the quadriceps.

Chair Squat (see the video below)

Starting Position:
--Perform this exercise with the aid of a sturdy chair.
--Stand in front of the chair with your back toward the chair and feet shoulder-width apart.
--Keep your head up as a natural extension of your spine.

--Begin to sit in the chair lowering your body until your legs are at a 90-degree angle (if possible).
--Contracting your quadriceps, slowly return to the starting position, stopping just short of the legs being fully extended. Keep a slight bend in the knees.

Key Points:
--Inhale while sitting in the chair.
--Exhale while raising yourself from the chair.
--As you get stronger, you will want to add resistance such as dumbbells in your hands.

Now that we've worked the front of the leg, it's time to hit the rear of the legs -- the hamstrings.


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