Knee Exercises for Arthritis

person lying on gray textile

Unfortunately for many people who has knee arthritis…knee exercises and knee arthritis exercises are the last thing on their mind.

Because knees that have arthritis can be sore, tender and painful with movement.

…but of course, research shows that regular knee exercises can be as effective as drugs in reducing knee joint pain.

Contents

Benefits of Knee Exercises

Improved Movements

The first and foremost benefit of knee exercises is mainly to build and maintain healthy knees…which helps with movement without pain (or at least with little to no pain), which leads to a healthier lifestyle.

Knee Pain Relief

Exercise will strengthen the muscles and joints of the knee, and stronger muscles of the knee will provide better knee joint support, which in turn will reduce knee pain.

Another bonus is that as you exercise and move about, your body will naturally release natural endorphines, which not only decreases pain but also helps you increase your mood (makes you feel better, happier) etc.

Studies show that people who participate in land-based exercise and/or strength training routines rate their knee pain 10 to 15% lower than those who do not.

This reduction can make all the difference between

  • needing pain medication or not
  • getting knee injections or not
  • going for knee surgery or not

…which is why it’s so important for all of us to get moving!

Increased knee joint range of motion and function

Pain can directly cause a person to decrease activity level, and the fear, thought and memory of knee pain can also do the same to restrict activity level.

This starts a vicious cycle, leading to knee joint stiffness and muscle weakness, which in turn leads to even more pain.

Regular general as well as knee joint exercise will help the knee joints remain limber by increasing their mobility through regular use while at home or in physical therapy sessions.

Exercise can improve your knee function by as much as 10%.

This can translate to you

  1. getting out of bed / chair / desk easier
  2. going to the washroom easier
  3. wearing and removing pants or undergarment easier
  4. tolerate standing and walking for longer
  5. even jogging further

That is a big difference.

Healthier Knee Cartilage

When we dont move our knee joint and knee often, it’d stiffen and tighten and weaken up over a period of time.

Our knee cartilage needs movement and motion to stay healthy (did we mention that we’re made to move, just like all our body parts).

When we use our knees and cartilage, the synovial fluid that is stored in joint as water, releases nutrients that keeps everything inside lubricated and mobile.

Synovial fluid also encourages a healing environment for the knee joint, reducing inflammation and supporting healthy joint function – this makes it perfect as an ingredient in any knee brace!

Weight Loss

Losing 10 lbs (pounds) of body weight = reduction of at least 30 lbs (pounds) of weight on the knee with every step you take.

Regular exercise that is combined with a nutritious, plant-based diet can help you lose unnecessary weight, which will in turn decrease pressure on the knee joint.

Preparing for Knee Exercises

Health care providers such as physiotherapists will always advise a warm up before exercise and a cool down after exercise.

Warm up:

The best way to prepare for a workout is with a 10-minute warm-up. A good pre-workout routine should include some light stretching and aerobic activity, as these will increase blood flow and loosen the muscles before you start working out!

For those who are more prone to arthritis or injury during exercise, we recommend wrapping your joints in an ice pack first so that they can gradually be warmed up after starting to work them through their range of motion at low intensity exercises like walking.”

Post workout / exercise

Immediately after a tough gym session, the knees may feel swollen and sore. But there are steps you can take to reduce swelling and relieve discomfort! Some people elevate their legs or ice them with an icy compress (frozen peas do just fine).

Over-the counter NSAID medication like ibuprofen or naproxen might be used occasionally-just keep in mind that long term use can lead to stomach problems especially for older adults.

Note: If you feel pain when doing knee exercises, stop and seek advice from a healthcare professional or an appropriately qualified athletic trainer before continuing.

Knee Stretches

Knee stretches are a great way to reduce and manage knee stiffness as well as any structures of the knee that’s tight or stiff. These knee stretches will help with your joint joint mobility, simultaneously also promoting better range of motion for knee arthritis sufferers.

Look, your knee will do much better whenever you start your day with knee stretching and exercise of these 4 target muscle groups. Do this for at least 10 minutes per session 3 times each week:

  • Hamstrings (in the back of the thighs)
  • Quadriceps (in the front of the thighs)
  • Hip flexors (at the front of the hips)
  • Calf muscles (lower leg muscles)

The stretches described below can be done once or twice a day.

When doing the stretches, it is important to maintain the right form to avoid straining joints and use modifications if necessary. With all of these exercises as you feel your muscles loosening up, you should work into each stretch deeper for increased range of motion!

Hamstring Stretches

The hamstrings are the muscles at your back of thigh.

If you have tight hamstrings, it may cause and/or lead to knee pain and hamstring stretches can help to relieve that pain. These stretches should usually be done twice daily – once in the morning and again before bedtime…if you can squeeze in once more in the middle of the day would be good too.

Lying-down-face-up Leg Raise

A supine leg raise is a gentle way to stretch the hamstring muscles.

Most people will need something they can use as leverage, such as a rope or belt, corner of wall or door jam in order to perform this stretch.

  1. Begin this stretch by lying on the back with both legs extended.
  2. Bend the left knee and bring the left foot flat on the mat, in front of the buttocks.
  3. Slowly begin to raise the right foot to the sky, keeping the right leg as straight as possible and the back flat against the floor. To help ensure you keep your right leg straight, you may wrap the strap around the right foot and hold the strap in both hands. Alternatively, you may rest the straightened leg against a door jam.
  4. Keep the back flat on the floor by engaging core muscles; contract the butt muscles as well as abdominal muscles, which will pull the belly towards the floor.
  5. This stretch should be held for 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side.

Hamstring Stretch in Sitting

Hamstring stretches can also be done in a sitting position, where the degree of stretch can be varied based on the placement of the leg:

  1. Sitting at the edge of a chair, straighten one leg in front of the body with the heel on the floor.
  2. Then, sit up straight and try pushing the navel towards the thigh without leaning the trunk of the body forwards.
  3. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 3 times for each leg.

People who are more flexible may need to elevate the foot on a stool or chair to get a deep stretch.

Quadriceps Stretches

The quadriceps muscles are the strongest muscle in your body, located at the front of our thigh and controlling all extension (straightening) of our knee.

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

This stretch can be felt in the front of the right thigh.

  1. Place the left hand on a wall or a chair for balance
  2. Bend the right knee and bring the right foot back. Reach back with the right hand and grab the ankle.
  3. With a firm grip on the ankle, use leg strength to push the ankle up and back, away from the buttocks. (Pulling the ankle toward the buttocks can put unwanted stress on the knee.)
  4. Keep the pelvis tucked so that the lower spine is in a neutral position. This position protects the back and provides a better stretch in the quadriceps.

To make this stretch easier, place a chair behind you and bend the right leg until the shin rests on top of it. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat two times with each side before moving onto the other one to complete your 30-minute routine!

Hip Flexor Muscles Stretch

The hip flexors are the group of muscles which connect your torso and leg. They allow you to bend forward at the waist, as well as move your knee up towards your chest for a stretch.

Kneeling Hip Flexors Stretch

This stretch is best done on a mat or carpet.

  1. Kneel on the left knee, resting the left shin on the floor.
  2. Extend the right leg forward, keeping the right knee bent and the right foot flat on the floor.
  3. Rest hands on right knee and lean body forward.
  4. Do not let the right knee extend forward past the toes of the right foot (about 90º)
  5. Keep the pelvis tucked so that the lower spine is in a neutral position. This position protects the back and provides a better stretch in the hip flexor muscles.
  6. Engage the core muscles to help keep the body stable and upright.

Repeat the stretch 3 times on each side, holding each leg for 20 seconds.

Calf Muscle Stretch

The calf is essential for walking, stair climbing and running. The two muscles that make up the whole of this muscle are called gastrocnemius and soleus which can be found at the back of your lower leg.

Standing Calf Muscle Stretch

Our calf muscles, has two parts of it.

The larger calf muscle is called the gastrocnemius muscle. And this stretch is done two ways to properly stretch both calf muscles.

  1. Face a wall and stand about 2 paces away from the wall.
  2. Extend both arms, placing hands on the wall at or just below shoulder height.
  3. Step the right leg slightly forward with the right knee bent, keeping the left leg straight and angled back.
  4. Keep the pelvis tucked so that the lower spine is in a neutral position to protect the lower back.
  5. Stretch the left heel toward the floor, and lean the body forward using the wall for support. This should produce a stretch in the back of the left leg.
  6. To increase the stretch, move back from the wall a little more.

To stretch the soleus muscle, do the same stretch as above but the difference is that we isolate the soleus by bending your left knee. Repeat this 3 times on each leg for 10 to 20 seconds each time.

As a general rule, do not hold your breath while stretching – please keep breathing throughout the stretch. Keep movements smooth and avoid bouncing or straining. While some knee stretches may be appropriate for anyone with arthritis in their knees, it is always advisable to consult your health care provider before performing any exercise at all.

Knee Strengthening Exercises

Regularly doing knee strengthening exercises can decrease everyday knee pain and slow down the progression of knee arthritis.

…how?

When the muscle around your knee is stronger, it’ll be able to stabilize and absorb shock. When you have a stable joint, there will be less friction and wear-and-tear!

Below are some of our suggested knee strengthening exercises. If these exercises are too challenging, you can modify them (easier or harder) – as muscles get stronger the modifications may be leveled up harder =D

Squats for Knee Strengthening

The squat is a multi-purpose knee strengthening exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and buttocks.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, firmly planted on the ground.
  2. Slowly bend the knees as if sitting back into a chair, keeping the back straight and the abdominals engaged. The knees should not go forward beyond the toes.
  3. Arms may be raised forward to help with balance.

A reasonable goal is 4 sets of 12. To add difficulty, small free weights may be held in each hand.

Squat Modification 1: Wall

  1. Position the body in a full squatting position with the back flat against the wall.
  2. Raise the body by straightening the legs and sliding the back up against the wall.
  3. Lower the body using the same method.

Squat Modification 2: Chair

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart in front of the chair.
  2. Cross arms across the chest, grabbing opposite shoulders with opposite hands.
  3. Exhale and sit back, moving toward the chair until the thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Pause for a moment, and then rise slowly while keeping the core body engaged and back straight.

If the chair feels too far down, place pillows on the seat until it is a comfortable height.

Thigh and Hip Strengthening Seated Leg Raises

This exercise strengthens the muscles in the front of the thigh, the quadriceps.

  1. Sit in a chair with the knees bent, feet dangling above the ground. Add pillows to the seat of the chair if necessary.
  2. Holding onto the sides of the chair for stability, slowly extend left leg until it is nearly parallel to the floor. Try to keep the leg as straight as possible without locking the knee.
  3. Pause briefly holding the leg straight, and then return back to the starting position.

Repeat with the right leg. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions on each side.

Side-lying Leg Raise

This strengthening exercise mainly targets the muscles on the outside of the hip.

  1. Lie on the left side of the body and bend the left knee so that the left foot is behind the body.
  2. Slowly raise the right leg until it makes a 45-degree angle with the rest of the body, keeping it as straight as possible.
  3. Pause with leg raised 45 degrees, and then start a controlled lowering to the starting position.
  4. At its lowest position, the right leg should be parallel to the floor-not resting on the floor-if possible.

Repeat the leg raise 8 to 12 times on each side, performing 3 sets. If this exercise seems too easy, you can try add resistance or weights using a towel, ankle weight, exercise band etc.

Aerobic Exercise for Knee Arthritis

We can keep sharing on how good the benefits aerobic exercises for people with knee arthritis are – of course we need to ensure that these aerobic exercises are customized to

  • your level of pain tolerance
  • your level of fitness
  • your preferences

With those customization, it’d be easier to become and stay active =)

The greatest benefits occur when aerobic exercise becomes routine. It doesn’t really matter to us…

  • if you exercise in a gym
  • if you exercise alone
  • if you exercise in a group class
  • if you exercise at home

…as long as you’re doing them consistently – it’s the consistency that’s the magic.

Aerobic Exercise for Mild to Moderate Knee Arthritis

Those with mild to moderate knee symptoms may consider walking, biking, swimming and using an elliptical machine or other exercise machines at the gym.

  • Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be done anywhere and for anyone. Walking outdoors or on the treadmill will help you stay fit while reducing pain in your joints, like arthritis.
  • Biking is a great way to get in shape without wearing your knees out. To avoid overstraining, adjust the pedals so that they do not come up above an angle of 90 degrees while cycling.
  • Swimming is an excellent form of low-impact aerobic conditioning that, while easy on the knees and other weight bearing joints, still requires proper breathing technique to minimize chances of muscle strain. To use this exercise as it was intended – a type of “active rest” for those with arthritis or injuries – swimmers should focus not only on traditional strokes like freestyle (crawl), but also flips and sidestrokes which will help strengthen muscles around your hips without putting undue stress on larger bones in your legs.
  • Elliptical machines are great for those with knee arthritis because it provides a weight-bearing activity (which strengthens bones) without being high impact on your knees like running would be.

The options for a good workout are endless!

We hadn’t even included exercises such as

  • yoga
  • pilates
  • golf
  • aquarobics
  • etc

Exercise durations and intensity can be customized to suit you.

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend people to engage in a routine that they enjoy, because they will be more likely to stick with it.

Water Therapy for Advanced Knee Arthritis

If you have painful or advanced knee osteoarthritis or who have knee arthritis and other joint problems, you can consider prefer water therapy (pool therapy) to land exercise or swimming.

These types of activity provides the same health benefits as any other form of aerobic exercise, but is gentler on knees which means you can stay in it for longer periods without feeling pain!

Exercising while in the water provides:

  • Buoyancy, with the support of the water reducing pressure on the knee joints
  • Resistance, requiring muscles to work harder to move (e.g. walking in waist-deep water is more difficult than walking on land).

This combination of buoyancy and resistance is excellent for people with knee arthritis who need to engage in aerobic activity.

Workout Guidelines and Goals

It is best to gradually increase the intensity of the aerobic workout, ideally in concert with recommendations from a physician or other qualified health professional.

The goal is to incorporate low impact aerobic exercise into one’s daily routine. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week, or 30 minutes 5 days per week.

Individuals who can easily meet this goal can then increase the level of intensity of their workout.

person lying on gray textile

Unfortunately for many people who has knee arthritis…knee exercises and knee arthritis exercises are the last thing on their mind.

Because knees that have arthritis can be sore, tender and painful with movement.

…but of course, research shows that regular knee exercises can be as effective as drugs in reducing knee joint pain.

Benefits of Knee Exercises

Improved Movements

The first and foremost benefit of knee exercises is mainly to build and maintain healthy knees…which helps with movement without pain (or at least with little to no pain), which leads to a healthier lifestyle.

Knee Pain Relief

Exercise will strengthen the muscles and joints of the knee, and stronger muscles of the knee will provide better knee joint support, which in turn will reduce knee pain.

Another bonus is that as you exercise and move about, your body will naturally release natural endorphines, which not only decreases pain but also helps you increase your mood (makes you feel better, happier) etc.

Studies show that people who participate in land-based exercise and/or strength training routines rate their knee pain 10 to 15% lower than those who do not.

This reduction can make all the difference between

  • needing pain medication or not
  • getting knee injections or not
  • going for knee surgery or not

…which is why it’s so important for all of us to get moving!

Increased knee joint range of motion and function

Pain can directly cause a person to decrease activity level, and the fear, thought and memory of knee pain can also do the same to restrict activity level.

This starts a vicious cycle, leading to knee joint stiffness and muscle weakness, which in turn leads to even more pain.

Regular general as well as knee joint exercise will help the knee joints remain limber by increasing their mobility through regular use while at home or in physical therapy sessions.

Exercise can improve your knee function by as much as 10%.

This can translate to you

  1. getting out of bed / chair / desk easier
  2. going to the washroom easier
  3. wearing and removing pants or undergarment easier
  4. tolerate standing and walking for longer
  5. even jogging further

That is a big difference.

Healthier Knee Cartilage

When we dont move our knee joint and knee often, it’d stiffen and tighten and weaken up over a period of time.

Our knee cartilage needs movement and motion to stay healthy (did we mention that we’re made to move, just like all our body parts).

When we use our knees and cartilage, the synovial fluid that is stored in joint as water, releases nutrients that keeps everything inside lubricated and mobile.

Synovial fluid also encourages a healing environment for the knee joint, reducing inflammation and supporting healthy joint function – this makes it perfect as an ingredient in any knee brace!

Weight Loss

Losing 10 lbs (pounds) of body weight = reduction of at least 30 lbs (pounds) of weight on the knee with every step you take.

Regular exercise that is combined with a nutritious, plant-based diet can help you lose unnecessary weight, which will in turn decrease pressure on the knee joint.

Preparing for Knee Exercises

Health care providers such as physiotherapists will always advise a warm up before exercise and a cool down after exercise.

Warm up:

The best way to prepare for a workout is with a 10-minute warm-up. A good pre-workout routine should include some light stretching and aerobic activity, as these will increase blood flow and loosen the muscles before you start working out!

For those who are more prone to arthritis or injury during exercise, we recommend wrapping your joints in an ice pack first so that they can gradually be warmed up after starting to work them through their range of motion at low intensity exercises like walking.”

Post workout / exercise

Immediately after a tough gym session, the knees may feel swollen and sore. But there are steps you can take to reduce swelling and relieve discomfort! Some people elevate their legs or ice them with an icy compress (frozen peas do just fine).

Over-the counter NSAID medication like ibuprofen or naproxen might be used occasionally-just keep in mind that long term use can lead to stomach problems especially for older adults.

Note: If you feel pain when doing knee exercises, stop and seek advice from a healthcare professional or an appropriately qualified athletic trainer before continuing.

Knee Stretches

Knee stretches are a great way to reduce and manage knee stiffness as well as any structures of the knee that’s tight or stiff. These knee stretches will help with your joint joint mobility, simultaneously also promoting better range of motion for knee arthritis sufferers.

Look, your knee will do much better whenever you start your day with knee stretching and exercise of these 4 target muscle groups. Do this for at least 10 minutes per session 3 times each week:

  • Hamstrings (in the back of the thighs)
  • Quadriceps (in the front of the thighs)
  • Hip flexors (at the front of the hips)
  • Calf muscles (lower leg muscles)

The stretches described below can be done once or twice a day.

When doing the stretches, it is important to maintain the right form to avoid straining joints and use modifications if necessary. With all of these exercises as you feel your muscles loosening up, you should work into each stretch deeper for increased range of motion!

Hamstring Stretches

The hamstrings are the muscles at your back of thigh.

If you have tight hamstrings, it may cause and/or lead to knee pain and hamstring stretches can help to relieve that pain. These stretches should usually be done twice daily – once in the morning and again before bedtime…if you can squeeze in once more in the middle of the day would be good too.

Lying-down-face-up Leg Raise

A supine leg raise is a gentle way to stretch the hamstring muscles.

Most people will need something they can use as leverage, such as a rope or belt, corner of wall or door jam in order to perform this stretch.

  1. Begin this stretch by lying on the back with both legs extended.
  2. Bend the left knee and bring the left foot flat on the mat, in front of the buttocks.
  3. Slowly begin to raise the right foot to the sky, keeping the right leg as straight as possible and the back flat against the floor. To help ensure you keep your right leg straight, you may wrap the strap around the right foot and hold the strap in both hands. Alternatively, you may rest the straightened leg against a door jam.
  4. Keep the back flat on the floor by engaging core muscles; contract the butt muscles as well as abdominal muscles, which will pull the belly towards the floor.
  5. This stretch should be held for 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side.

Hamstring Stretch in Sitting

Hamstring stretches can also be done in a sitting position, where the degree of stretch can be varied based on the placement of the leg:

  1. Sitting at the edge of a chair, straighten one leg in front of the body with the heel on the floor.
  2. Then, sit up straight and try pushing the navel towards the thigh without leaning the trunk of the body forwards.
  3. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 3 times for each leg.

People who are more flexible may need to elevate the foot on a stool or chair to get a deep stretch.

Quadriceps Stretches

The quadriceps muscles are the strongest muscle in your body, located at the front of our thigh and controlling all extension (straightening) of our knee.

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

This stretch can be felt in the front of the right thigh.

  1. Place the left hand on a wall or a chair for balance
  2. Bend the right knee and bring the right foot back. Reach back with the right hand and grab the ankle.
  3. With a firm grip on the ankle, use leg strength to push the ankle up and back, away from the buttocks. (Pulling the ankle toward the buttocks can put unwanted stress on the knee.)
  4. Keep the pelvis tucked so that the lower spine is in a neutral position. This position protects the back and provides a better stretch in the quadriceps.

To make this stretch easier, place a chair behind you and bend the right leg until the shin rests on top of it. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat two times with each side before moving onto the other one to complete your 30-minute routine!

Hip Flexor Muscles Stretch

The hip flexors are the group of muscles which connect your torso and leg. They allow you to bend forward at the waist, as well as move your knee up towards your chest for a stretch.

Kneeling Hip Flexors Stretch

This stretch is best done on a mat or carpet.

  1. Kneel on the left knee, resting the left shin on the floor.
  2. Extend the right leg forward, keeping the right knee bent and the right foot flat on the floor.
  3. Rest hands on right knee and lean body forward.
  4. Do not let the right knee extend forward past the toes of the right foot (about 90º)
  5. Keep the pelvis tucked so that the lower spine is in a neutral position. This position protects the back and provides a better stretch in the hip flexor muscles.
  6. Engage the core muscles to help keep the body stable and upright.

Repeat the stretch 3 times on each side, holding each leg for 20 seconds.

Calf Muscle Stretch

The calf is essential for walking, stair climbing and running. The two muscles that make up the whole of this muscle are called gastrocnemius and soleus which can be found at the back of your lower leg.

Standing Calf Muscle Stretch

Our calf muscles, has two parts of it.

The larger calf muscle is called the gastrocnemius muscle. And this stretch is done two ways to properly stretch both calf muscles.

  1. Face a wall and stand about 2 paces away from the wall.
  2. Extend both arms, placing hands on the wall at or just below shoulder height.
  3. Step the right leg slightly forward with the right knee bent, keeping the left leg straight and angled back.
  4. Keep the pelvis tucked so that the lower spine is in a neutral position to protect the lower back.
  5. Stretch the left heel toward the floor, and lean the body forward using the wall for support. This should produce a stretch in the back of the left leg.
  6. To increase the stretch, move back from the wall a little more.

To stretch the soleus muscle, do the same stretch as above but the difference is that we isolate the soleus by bending your left knee. Repeat this 3 times on each leg for 10 to 20 seconds each time.

As a general rule, do not hold your breath while stretching – please keep breathing throughout the stretch. Keep movements smooth and avoid bouncing or straining. While some knee stretches may be appropriate for anyone with arthritis in their knees, it is always advisable to consult your health care provider before performing any exercise at all.

Knee Strengthening Exercises

Regularly doing knee strengthening exercises can decrease everyday knee pain and slow down the progression of knee arthritis.

…how?

When the muscle around your knee is stronger, it’ll be able to stabilize and absorb shock. When you have a stable joint, there will be less friction and wear-and-tear!

Below are some of our suggested knee strengthening exercises. If these exercises are too challenging, you can modify them (easier or harder) – as muscles get stronger the modifications may be leveled up harder =D

Squats for Knee Strengthening

The squat is a multi-purpose knee strengthening exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and buttocks.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, firmly planted on the ground.
  2. Slowly bend the knees as if sitting back into a chair, keeping the back straight and the abdominals engaged. The knees should not go forward beyond the toes.
  3. Arms may be raised forward to help with balance.

A reasonable goal is 4 sets of 12. To add difficulty, small free weights may be held in each hand.

Squat Modification 1: Wall

  1. Position the body in a full squatting position with the back flat against the wall.
  2. Raise the body by straightening the legs and sliding the back up against the wall.
  3. Lower the body using the same method.

Squat Modification 2: Chair

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart in front of the chair.
  2. Cross arms across the chest, grabbing opposite shoulders with opposite hands.
  3. Exhale and sit back, moving toward the chair until the thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Pause for a moment, and then rise slowly while keeping the core body engaged and back straight.

If the chair feels too far down, place pillows on the seat until it is a comfortable height.

Thigh and Hip Strengthening Seated Leg Raises

This exercise strengthens the muscles in the front of the thigh, the quadriceps.

  1. Sit in a chair with the knees bent, feet dangling above the ground. Add pillows to the seat of the chair if necessary.
  2. Holding onto the sides of the chair for stability, slowly extend left leg until it is nearly parallel to the floor. Try to keep the leg as straight as possible without locking the knee.
  3. Pause briefly holding the leg straight, and then return back to the starting position.

Repeat with the right leg. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions on each side.

Side-lying Leg Raise

This strengthening exercise mainly targets the muscles on the outside of the hip.

  1. Lie on the left side of the body and bend the left knee so that the left foot is behind the body.
  2. Slowly raise the right leg until it makes a 45-degree angle with the rest of the body, keeping it as straight as possible.
  3. Pause with leg raised 45 degrees, and then start a controlled lowering to the starting position.
  4. At its lowest position, the right leg should be parallel to the floor-not resting on the floor-if possible.

Repeat the leg raise 8 to 12 times on each side, performing 3 sets. If this exercise seems too easy, you can try add resistance or weights using a towel, ankle weight, exercise band etc.

Aerobic Exercise for Knee Arthritis

We can keep sharing on how good the benefits aerobic exercises for people with knee arthritis are – of course we need to ensure that these aerobic exercises are customized to

  • your level of pain tolerance
  • your level of fitness
  • your preferences

With those customization, it’d be easier to become and stay active =)

The greatest benefits occur when aerobic exercise becomes routine. It doesn’t really matter to us…

  • if you exercise in a gym
  • if you exercise alone
  • if you exercise in a group class
  • if you exercise at home

…as long as you’re doing them consistently – it’s the consistency that’s the magic.

Aerobic Exercise for Mild to Moderate Knee Arthritis

Those with mild to moderate knee symptoms may consider walking, biking, swimming and using an elliptical machine or other exercise machines at the gym.

  • Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be done anywhere and for anyone. Walking outdoors or on the treadmill will help you stay fit while reducing pain in your joints, like arthritis.
  • Biking is a great way to get in shape without wearing your knees out. To avoid overstraining, adjust the pedals so that they do not come up above an angle of 90 degrees while cycling.
  • Swimming is an excellent form of low-impact aerobic conditioning that, while easy on the knees and other weight bearing joints, still requires proper breathing technique to minimize chances of muscle strain. To use this exercise as it was intended – a type of “active rest” for those with arthritis or injuries – swimmers should focus not only on traditional strokes like freestyle (crawl), but also flips and sidestrokes which will help strengthen muscles around your hips without putting undue stress on larger bones in your legs.
  • Elliptical machines are great for those with knee arthritis because it provides a weight-bearing activity (which strengthens bones) without being high impact on your knees like running would be.

The options for a good workout are endless!

We hadn’t even included exercises such as

  • yoga
  • pilates
  • golf
  • aquarobics
  • etc

Exercise durations and intensity can be customized to suit you.

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend people to engage in a routine that they enjoy, because they will be more likely to stick with it.

Water Therapy for Advanced Knee Arthritis

If you have painful or advanced knee osteoarthritis or who have knee arthritis and other joint problems, you can consider prefer water therapy (pool therapy) to land exercise or swimming.

These types of activity provides the same health benefits as any other form of aerobic exercise, but is gentler on knees which means you can stay in it for longer periods without feeling pain!

Exercising while in the water provides:

  • Buoyancy, with the support of the water reducing pressure on the knee joints
  • Resistance, requiring muscles to work harder to move (e.g. walking in waist-deep water is more difficult than walking on land).

This combination of buoyancy and resistance is excellent for people with knee arthritis who need to engage in aerobic activity.

Workout Guidelines and Goals

It is best to gradually increase the intensity of the aerobic workout, ideally in concert with recommendations from a physician or other qualified health professional.

The goal is to incorporate low impact aerobic exercise into one’s daily routine. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week, or 30 minutes 5 days per week.

Individuals who can easily meet this goal can then increase the level of intensity of their workout.

Where To Next

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