The knee is the largest and the most complex joint in the human body. It bears the highest shocks during your daily activities. It is very important to maintain good knee joint health to stay mobile and active as you age. Knee pain is common problem in older adults which is usually caused by osteoarthritis (wearing away of knee cartilage). Many factors such as the natural aging process, a family history of osteoarthritis, being overweight, or knee injuries, could make you more prone to knee cartilage deterioration. If preventive steps are not taken early on, the condition will get worse over time and knee replacement surgery may be required.
Fortunately, following certain strategies can delay or even avoid the need for surgical intervention. Here’s how you can age-proof your knees:
- Exercise and strengthen the knee muscles: Strengthen knee joint muscles by exercising and boosting muscle strength. Exercise can help lot to make your cartilage, ligaments and tissues age-proof, but you need to do it in right way. To start, combine quadriceps and hamstrings in to your workout routine. These exercises can guard against placing excessive pressure on your knee joints during use and strengthen your muscles to support your weight and activity.
- Weight loss: Calculate your body mass index (BMI) and work on getting it to a healthy range, which is generally considered to be values between 18.5 and 24.9. If you are overweight, take steps to shed some pounds as each additional pound you carry would mean another 4 pounds of pressure on the joints. Losing weight relieves pressure and pain on the knee joints.
- Improve mobility: Stay mobile. For most people, the joints gets stiffer with age and its clearly evident that people with better motion have fewer symptoms of knee joint pain. Living a sedentary life not only reduces endurance and strength but also leads to difficulty controlling weight gain and a slow metabolism, which in turn leads to many lifestyles diseases. If you have a full time sitting job, consult a therapist. Work on your postures and bring some changes in your lifestyle.
- Eat healthy diet and increase vitamin E and calcium intake: Eat healthy anti-inflammatory foods to ward off knee inflammation and pain. Omega 3-rich fish, walnuts, and oatmeal are a few examples of knee strengthening foods. Also add vitamin E and calcium food to your diet. Vitamin E is linked with the hindrance of the enzymes that are linked with the breakdown of joint cartilage and calcium is crucial for good bone health.
Try to avoid knee injuries maximum. Whenever you lift heavy objects, bend your knees to disperse pressure. Do non-impact exercises such as indoor or outdoor cycling or using an elliptical trainer. Wear good quality shoes with proper fitting as it helps your feet and knees to be in the comfortable position and saves from extra pressure. Avoid high-impact activities such as jogging and aerobics classes that involve jumping.