Creak. Crack. Pop. Ow. The sounds of aching joints can be almost as embarrassing as the lack of mobility and painful expressions they force upon you. For most of us, this starts in the knees – the workhorse joint for just about every human on the planet. Besides the repeated pounding the bone and joint take from walking, jogging, kneeling or crawling, the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint are prone to injury if not properly maintained. However, just 15 minutes twice a week can help keep that from becoming a serious problem.
o Wall Sits: Stand and lean against an open wall with your back touching the surface. Extend your feet approximately 1 to 1 and a half feet in front of you. Then, lower your body down, buttocks first, until your thighs and calves make a 90-degree angle at the knee. It will be like sitting in a chair without the chair. Hold this position for 1 minute. Stand and repeat 4 times.
o Chair Extensions: While seated in an actual chair, bring your knees to the edge of the seat, straighten your back and then raise your foot until your leg is in a straight line from the hip to ankle, roughly parallel to the floor. Lower, repeat 5-8 times on each leg.
o Take the Stairs: If you live or work in a building with stairs, make an effort to start using them. Concentrate on keeping a slight bend in your knee throughout the activity; not locking knees between steps. Don’t race; just go at a slow steady pace; making as full contact as possible between feet and stairs. If you don’t have stairs, find a stable elevated area and repeat the step-up, step-down process for 30 reps per leg, or for 5 minutes.