Healthy Knees

If you love to be active -- to walk, run, hike, ski, jump, or even kneel in the garden to weed -- you need healthy knees. Healthy knees need to be strong and flexible, capable of large joint motion, to keep you on your feet.

But every year, 9.5 million people see an orthopedic specialist for knee injuries and knee pain. To reduce wear and tear on your knees, and to prevent knee injury, practice two simple knee stretches to loosen your muscles and tendons and increase joint movement. Here are two dynamic knee stretches featured in the book The Healthy Knees Book: A Guide to Whole Healing for Outdoor Enthusiasts and Other Active People.

Lateral jump and hold: Stand with your feet close, knees slightly bent. Then jump laterally (side-to-side) over a line, keeping your knees bent. Descend into a deep knee bend, or a low squat, and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat four times for healthy knees!

Front lunge: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Take a long step forward, long enough to flex your front knee at a 90 degree angle. Then drive off this front leg to return to your original position. Modify this dynamic knee stretch by following through into a walking lunge: step through with your back leg and lunge again, making sure your knee does not advance beyond your ankle. Repeat 6 times for strong and flexible knees.

Simple knee stretches like these will keep you healthy by preventing knee injury and reducing knee pain! And even better, The Healthy Knees Book will keep you running, hiking, skiing and weeding without ever having to see a specialist.  


- Adapted from THE HEALTHY KNEES BOOK: A Guide to Whole Healing for Outdoor Enthusiasts and Other Active People by Astrid Pujari, Nancy Schatz Alton (Skipstone, $14.95 paperback)


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