If you’re going through the day noticing that your knees are aching – as though you’ve been on several long-haul flights in a row without time for a single stretch – then it is time to take action. Knee pain is one of the most common complaints of those who regularly exercise, and it could be that the way you’re doing your workout – or how long you spend sitting in the office – is what is causing the painful knee symptoms. Ironically, knee pain might lead you to slack on your fitness regime, since you worry that intense exercise could worsen the pain. Here’s a primer on what might be causing your knees to give you trouble in the first place, and what you can do about it.
Ensure that you give your knees adequate protection when you squat down as part of your exercise routine. To reduce the pressure on your knee caps, make sure that your knees stay pointing directly forward when you squat, rather than buckling in on each other. Ideally your shins should be almost straight each time you squat, and your knees, facing to the front of you, ought to reach out to line up with your toes.
It’s thought to be weakness in the glutes that causes buckled knees. You can combat this by strengthening your glutes, which will equip you with the ability to contract them more effectively during exercise. Bridges – where you lie on the floor and raise your hips to help the body form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees – and clams are the perfect moves to manage this.
If you have overly tight muscles around the hips, this will prevent you from being able to fully extend your hips. This also leads to buckled knees, since the unrelaxed muscles and resulting difficulty in extending your hips mean you will again experience trouble in contracting the glutes.
To correct overly tight hip muscles, lay on your front with a large ball underneath your hip muscles; breathe and press down into the ball to release tension for a minute or so, and repeat on the other hip.
Knee pain isn’t the only symptom for which overly tight hip muscles are the culprit; many complaints about discomfort in the lower body share the same cause. Too much time spent sitting is believed to be a root cause of this problem – given that it ultimately leads to buckled knees, it’s probably also the reason the kneecaps feel sore at the end of those long flights we mentioned.
Taking care not to spend extended periods in a sedentary position can help alleviate this kind of discomfort – make time for breaks at work or, if you can’t get away from your desk too often, build simple lower body stretches into your routine while you’re working. Combining a number of different stretches to give various parts of your body a mini workout can really help to prevent muscles tightening, and stop end-of-day pains right in their tracks.
A balanced fitness regime can help you avoid aches and pains – get in touch to find out how we can help you build in a variety of exercises to give you true wellness.