08 July, 2011
The Best Exercises for Sore Hips & Knees
When all you want to do is nurse the pain you feel in your knees and hips by sitting still, that’s the time to get up and move. Stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee and hip joints with exercises that will help keep you mobile and lessen the aggravation of nagging pain. Get the go-ahead from your doctor before performing these or any other exercises for sore hips and knees.
Stretching increases your flexibility and decreases muscular tension that can lead to pain in your hip and knee joints. Muscles that are tight injure more easily than do flexible muscles. Flexibility exercises also prevent muscles from shortening. Shortened muscles sometimes pull on the knees and hips, causing pain. After strength training, muscles become sore naturally as part of the recovery process, but stretching causes you to feel less pain. A simple flexibility exercise for the hips and knees is the hamstring stretch. Sit on the ground with your legs straight and bend forward at the hip joint with your spine straight. You feel this stretch along the back of the hips, thighs and knees.
Strengthening exercises for the muscles around the hips and knees provide better support for the joints. A strengthening exercise for the quadriceps muscles that extend the knees and flex the hips is the wall squat. To perform a wall squat, stand with your back against a wall, legs straight and feet approximately 2 feet from the wall. Bend your knees and slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Working out on an elliptical trainer machine is low impact on your hips and knees, letting you strengthen your muscles and improve cardiovascular fitness without injuring your joints. Just remember to keep your knees aligned under your hips instead of letting your weight fall inward. When the knees collapse toward each other, your knee joints suffer because the leg muscles are no longer holding your weight, but instead relying on the ligaments to do the work. Another effective form of cardio exercise is using a rowing machine. Rowing machines are beneficial for people with pain in their lower body, including the hips and knees.
Exercising in warm water relieves muscles aches. It also takes weight off your hips and knees because of buoyancy, so you can walk, swim or do water aerobics with little to no impact on your joints. You can also do strengthening exercises in the water and even use foam paddles for more resistance from the water.
- Kraig Scarbinsky/Photodisc/Getty Images