Some ‘kneed to know’ info about joint pain
by Vanessa LaFaso Stolarski, Contributing Columnist
Believe it or not, a sedentary lifestyle can sometimes be a greater cause of future knee joint pain or discomfort than your glory days of running marathons or shooting hoops.
Yes, the knee joint is heavily impacted by daily activities and weight-bearing movements, but sitting for long periods can result in shortened hip flexors.
Many knee issues, therefore, are hip issues. The hip joint plays a significant role in supporting the knees and distributing stress during movement.
Here are three hip-mobility exercises to try:
Consider doing these three-to-five times per week, depending on pain levels.
Hip circles are a gentle-yet-effective exercise that targets the muscles around the hip joint, enhancing flexibility and reducing knee discomfort. To perform hip circles:
STEP 1: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and place hands on hips.
STEP 2: Slowly rotate hips in a circular motion, first clockwise and then counterclockwise.
STEP 3: Perform 10-15 repetitions in each direction, making the circles as wide as comfortably possible.
STEP 4: Take deep breaths throughout the exercise, allowing your body to relax and improve the range of motion.
Glute bridges are excellent for strengthening the glutes and lower back, which, in turn, can help stabilize the hips and reduce strain on the knees. To perform glute bridges:
STEP 1: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
STEP 2: Place arms at sides, palms facing down, for support.
STEP 3: Press through heels and lift hips on the floor, engaging glutes and core.
STEP 4: Hold the bridge position, squeezing glutes at the top for a few seconds before lowering hips back down.
STEP 5: Perform 12-15 repetitions, focusing on the contraction of the glutes with each repetition.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Tight hip flexors can contribute to knee pain, so it’s essential to incorporate hip flexor stretches into your routine. To perform the hip flexor stretch:
STEP 1: Stand with one foot forward and the other foot back in a lunge position.
STEP 2: Shift weight forward onto the front leg, bending the knee at a 90-degree angle.
STEP 3: Keeping the back straight, gently push your hips forward to feel a stretch in the front of the back leg’s hip.
STEP 4: Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then switch to the other leg.
Incorporating a regular routine with hip-mobility exercises can significantly improve knee pain. ese exercises target the muscles surrounding the hip joint, providing support and stability to the knees during daily activities. As with any exercise program, it’s essential to start slowly and consult with a healthcare professional before beginning a new exercise regimen, especially if you have existing knee or hip issues. With consistent practice, these hip-mobility exercises can enhance joint health and help you enjoy a more active and pain-free lifestyle.
Vanessa LaFaso Stolarski is a certified nutrition counselor, weightlifting coach, life coach and stress-management specialist.
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