You may have noticed that the toll of aging has been greater on some parts of your body than others. It is very common for middle age men and women to suffer from knee problems such as arthritis, tendonitis, and limited range of motion.
This is especially so for people who are unhealthy and over weight. Therefore, it is important that you begin to focus on knee exercises and fitness over 50.
The health of your knee is an important part of fitness over 40. If you are over 50, there is a greater urgency to protect and strengthen your knees.
Your knees bear your weight all day as you walk, stand up, go upstairs, and do many other basic activities. When your muscles and tendons are weak, they cannot adequately absorb shock before it reaches your knee and causes damage.
Over time, this damage can limit your knee movement and load bearing ability. Therefore, keeping your legs and knees strong is a key to maintaining independence later in life.
1) Warming up before any exercise is critical to protecting your knee. Start by walking around to stretch your thigh muscles and loosen your joints.
Next, bend your leg and slowly lift your knee up to your chest. Do this at least 10 times per knee. Finally, hold your ankle in your hand and gently pull your leg up behind your back. This will stretch out the muscles that support your knees while you exercise. Repeat this exercise at least 10 times per knee.
2) Knee exercises can be a basic or as intense as you want. Leg press and leg curl machines exercise your knees and you can add weight as you become stronger.
If you do not want to use machines you can also perform leg lifts, short-arc leg extensions, partial squats, hamstring curls, and leg swings. Make sure that you perform movements which put resistance on your knee and legs from various angles and directions. This will increase your knee support through a full range of activities. Finally, any exercise which reduces weight will benefit your knees because it will lighten the load on your joints.
An important aspect to knee fitness over 50 is to strengthen the supporting muscles in your thighs and calves. You also need to keep the tendons attached to your knee flexible.
Yoga is an excellent way to stretch and tone your muscles and tendons. A yoga instructor should be able to recommend specific movements that will benefit your knee. Also, Pilates uses your body weight as resistance and strengthens your leg muscles.
3) If you feel that your knee is especially weak, then you may want to use a knee brace. There are different types of knee braces, depending on your needs.
A basic functional knee brace should give you adequate support through most exercises. If you have a prior knee injury, your doctor may give you a rehabilitative brace to limit certain activity. Also, if you have arthritis in your knee you may find relief from an unloader brace. If you feel that you have overworked your knees, the best medicine is rest. If you notice pain, redness, or swelling you should take a couple of days off before your resume exercising.
If you continue to have discomfort, you should ask your doctor to take a look at it. Your doctor can also help you develop an exercise plan for fitness over 50 tailored to your knee. You may also decide to include a vitamin supplement to promote joint health.
The more you stretch, strengthen, and tone your legs, the healthier your knees will be. Healthy knees are critical if you want to be able to climb stairs or go for a walk with loved ones in your 70s, 80s, or later.
If you take care of your knees now, you will be able to rely on them for the rest of your life.
Learn more on exercises for people over 50 here: Over 50 Exercise
Fitness tips for men & women over 50 can be found here: Fitness Over 50