Our knees provide most of our support in the daily activities that we do. As such, any form of knee injury would significantly affect our lifestyle. There are many causes of knee pain, including wear and tear, muscular imbalances, and improper form when exercising.
Over the years, I've seen more people participation in sporting events. With the increase in activeness comes a rising risk of injuries. Singapore General Hospital performs one of the highest numbers of knee surgeries annually (about 1,200 yearly). That is quite an alarming figure for just one hospital in Singapore.
What can you do to protect your knees? A small amount of time invested daily on exercises and stretches will go a long way in doing just that. Below, you'll find some exercises and stretches that you can do anytime or anywhere. If you regularly feel pain in your knees or have ever injured it in some way, it is advisable to seek professional guidance and help to avoid straining or worsening your current condition.
1. Standing Quadriceps Stretch
Muscle targeted: Quadriceps. The Quadriceps are one of the most important muscles in stabilising the knee during weight bearing. Because of the amount of work it is put through, it can get really tight. Stretching can help keep the muscle loose and relieve any pain.
Do this: Stand straight and pull one heel to the glutes. You can hold on to a wall to keep your balance. Push hips forward and squeeze the glute of the stretched leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Muscle targeted: This stretch serves to open up the hip muscles by stretching the adductor muscles. The adductor muscles are responsible for stabilising the leg during internal rotation of the leg.
Do this: Get in a push-up position with arms wider than shoulders width. Bring your left foot onto the outside of the left hand. Keep the right leg extended. Squeeze glutes and drop hips low to the floor. Keep the right leg extended or with very minimal bending of the knee. Hold the position for 20-30 seconds. Repeat with other leg.
3. Standing Hamstring Curls
Muscle targeted: Hamstrings.
Do this: Stand in front of a chair or wall. Keep your knees close together. Bend one leg until yours heels are touching or in contact with your glutes. Squeeze hamstring for 2 seconds and lower your leg down slowly. Alternate between legs and repeat for 10 repetitions and 3 sets.
4. Calf Stretch
Muscle targeted: Calf muscles. They are always active especially when you perform a lot of jumps and running. It plays a significant role and is often neglected during workouts and stretch routines.
Do this: Stand approximately one foot away from a wall. Stretch out hands against the wall for support. Step out one leg to the back. Keep heels on the floor. Keep both toes aligned and pointing straight to the wall. Shift your weight to the front leg by bending the knee. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
5. Static Wall Squats
Muscle targeted: Quadriceps.
Do this: Stand with your back facing against a wall. Lower hips until the knees are bent at a 90̊-degree angle. Hold for 30 seconds and rest for 15 seconds. This forms one set. Repeat for 4 sets and 3 rounds.
About Muhammad Ali
Muhammad completed his education with Edith Cowan University where he majored in Exercise and Sports Sciences. During his studies, he explored his interest in rehabilitation and sports performance with a physio clinic, where he was exposed to a vast range of rehabilitation cases. Ali enjoys working with various individuals on a daily basis where he specialises in helping them achieve their goals that might include functional movement, rehabilitation, weight-loss and muscle building.
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