Best advice to age-proof your knees
Whenever we stand up, sit down, walk, run, dance, or curl up in a ball, our knees play a pivotal role in helping us do each of these activities. How well are your knees holding up? They are one of our most active joints in the body keeping very busy throughout the day. But if we ignore them, we pay the price by experiencing pain, stiffness, or unsightly saggy skin around our kneecaps.
Surprisingly, there are steps we can take to anti-age proof our knees. The earlier in life you start, the more likely your knees will serve you well for a long time with little to no pain. Here are 8 ways to begin today keeping your knees in tip top shape getting you where you need to go:
1. Reach and maintain a healthy body weight
Did you know being only 10 pounds overweight increases the force on the knees by 30-60 pounds with each step? Think about that for a moment. Approximately 69% of adults living in the United States age 20 years and over are considered either overweight to obese. That is a lot of people walking around in pain due to excess weight. Carrying excess weight is your knee’s number one enemy. Lose excess pounds and you reduce by about 50% of your risk of knee osteoarthritis in which cartilage thins and bones can start to grind against each other.
2. Knees deserve stretching
Maybe you’d never guess but your knees really like to be stretched. To prevent knee troubles, stretch the muscles in the front and back of the thighs. This helps relieve pressure on your knees while you exercise. Or at the very least, when working out, do a light warm-up of walking or jogging first to get them loosened up ready for activity.
3. Give your knees a break from high heels
Sure, high heels make a woman’s legs look great but your knees hate them. Wearing high heels shifts your weight toward the ball of your foot. This places extra stress on them as your knees have to move forward to keep you balanced. The higher the heel, the worse it is for your knees. High heels over 3 ½ inches place an especially extra force onto your knees. So save the towering shoes for very special occasions and wear low-heeled or flat shoes as often as you can.
4. Straighten up
Pay attention to your posture throughout the day and your knees will be ever so grateful. Walking around slumped over or leaning forward, places pressure on knee joints which only tires them out leading to achiness in this area.
5. Develop strong hips
Weak hips will not help keep your knees youthful. Hips that are weak and unstable can place undue stress on your knees creating a situation of pain and discomfort. To prevent this, do half-squats – stand feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body by pushing your hips and butt backward as you bend your knees. Stop before your thighs are parallel to the floor and hold this position for five seconds. Then stand up and repeat several times.
6. Consider acupuncture
If your knees already are hurting, trying acupuncture can be a cost-effective alternative to getting a cortisone shot. Acupuncture is increasingly used as an alternative or complementary therapy for the treatment of pain. It is well tolerated, with a low risk of serious adverse effects. Always consult with your physician first before resorting to this method.
7. Smooth out the rough spots
Our knees have a tendency to get a little rough looking as in dry, cracked, and old. Keep knees looking pretty by moisturizing them every day with a lotion containing alpha or beta hydroxyl acids like glycolic, lactic, or salicylic. These substances can help hydrate and exfoliate your knees giving them a youthful appearance.
8. Fix saggy knees
Do your knees have wrinkles or saggy skin? This is a common condition due to many factors – weight loss, natural loss of elasticity, and sun damage. Other than resorting to a surgical fix or firming laser treatments like Thermage and Ulthera, or sessions with a dermal roller, the best preventative measures are to avoid yo-yo dieting (gaining and losing weight loosens the skin), wearing sunscreen and keeping in good shape through regular exercise.