Preventing Knee Injuries

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1/ A good warmup before engaging in any type of sport is critical to preventing injuries and should always be part of your routine. Stretching the muscles in the front and the back of the thighs is a good way to warm up the knees. Warming up should take about 5-10 minutes and can also be done on an elliptical trainer, treadmill or stationary bike.

2/ It is important to maintain a healthy weight. Every kilo of excess weight is equivalent to two or three times extra weight pressure on the knees. Other than putting stress on the knees, inflammatory factors associated with weight gain might affect other joints too. So maintain a healthy weight to reduce the pressure on your joints.

3/ Eat right! A Mediterranean or anti-inflammatory diet is good for the knees. Focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, as well as drinking lots of water.

4/ The stronger the muscles around your knees, the more they can take pressure off it. Many bodybuilders suffer from knee injuries because they tend to devote too much time on their upper body and neglect the training on leg muscles.

5/ With cardiovascular exercises, the more inclination there is, the more stress there is on the knees. A stairmaster puts a lot more stress on your knee compared to an elliptical trainer without incline. Know your limits and increase your speed or incline appropriately.

6/ While it is good to push yourself to exercise, you never want to put yourself in a situation where you end up hurting your knees. Overtraining is a concern with any activity, whether it’s walking, running or swimming. The first step in avoiding knee overtraining is to choose your activity wisely to ensure it’s a good fit. For example, if you have many lower-leg problems, knee pain, or a history of back pain – it may be wiser to choose a non-weight-bearing activity such as swimming. Regardless of the activity, be sure to use the proper technique, particularly in technique-intense sports such as speed walking or swimming, and always get instruction if needed.

7/ To prevent runner’s knee, an aching pain around the kneecap, you’ll need to strengthen and stretch your quads, calves and hamstrings while improving agility by incorporating lateral moves that strengthen muscles around your knee joint. If you’re currently experiencing runner’s knee make sure you R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress, and elevate) it.

8/ Keeping updated on the latest guidelines and advice regarding exercise techniques and equipment. For example, running shoes lose shock absorption, cushioning and stability over time. Continuing to run in worn-out running shoes increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints, which can lead to overuse injuries. Therefore it’s advisable to replace your running shoes every 500 to 650 kilometres, depending on your running style, body weight, and the surface on which you run.

This article was published in the Oct-Dec 2016 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!


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