The knees are the largest joint in the human body and they support the body’s entire weight and provide stability and flexibility. If it weren’t for our knees we wouldn’t be able to stand, walk, crouch, run and jump with ease as we do it now. So it goes without saying that our knees need to be in optimal health so that we can function normally.
But unfortunately, knee problems are a very common issue nowadays, especially in older people, even though they can affect people of all ages. As we age or knees get weaker, which is a normal problem but still it’s one that affects our everyday life and our ability to move and conduct the most menial chores.
Knee problems can happen as a result of a plethora of things, including nutritional deficits, knee injury or strain, physical inactivity, excess sodium in our body, smoking, too much alcohol or some inflammatory condition like arthritis or osteoarthritis.
But luckily for you there is a way you can strengthen your knees naturally just by implementing some dietary and lifestyle changes.
Here are a few advices on how to improve your knees’ mobility and flexibility without any special treatment and expensive creams, ointments and drugs:
- Physical activity and knee strengthening exercises
Physical activity is crucial for strong and healthy knees. There are also some exercises which can strengthen them, keep your joints aligned and properly positioned and restore your flexibility. Some of the best exercises for this condition are lunges, hamstring stretches, step-ups, knee bends, single-leg squats, straight leg raises and so on.
Ask an expert on how to do these exercises correctly and perform them at least 4 times a week for 30 minutes a day. If you notice that the exercises you’re performing are causing discomfort and pain consult a professional to see if you’re doing the right exercises for your condition.
Massage therapy can also be very beneficial for your knees and alleviate the pain. Regular massage will strengthen your muscles and joints and improve your circulation.
You can use coconut oil or olive oil, warmed up a bit, to massage your knees gently in circular motions. Perform the massage every day for 10 to 15 minutes and if the pain is becoming chronic you might want to see a licensed massage therapist.
- Epsom Salt
People with knee pain or weaker knees due to osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis are usually deficient in magnesium which is probably one of the reasons behind knee pain. That’s why Epsom salts are beneficial for this condition as they’re abundant in magnesium and will replenish your levels. Epsom salt is recommended for knee pain and will provide immediate relief, reduce the inflammation and improve your muscles’ condition.
Add 2tbsp. of Epsom salt in a cup of warm water and stir it to combine. Soak a cloth in the mixture and apply it on your knees. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before washing it off. You can also enjoy a warm Epsom salt bath by adding a cup of the salt to your warm bath and soak in it for twenty minutes at least once a week.
Swimming is an excellent exercise for those who suffer from arthritis or knee pain as it’s low-impact and promotes whole body movements. Swimming is good for your overall health but it’s also especially beneficial for knees and muscle strengthening and eliminating the stiffness.
It’s best if you swim at least 30 minutes, 5 days per week. The best styles for knee pain are front crawl, butterfly and backstroke. Breaststroke puts pressure on the knees so avoid it.
Calcium is essential for healthy and strong bones so if you’re deficient in calcium it will most likely affect your bones negatively, weakening them and thinning them which can result in osteoporosis. Our body isn’t able to produce calcium naturally so we must introduce it through our diet or supplements.
Some of the best calcium sources are dark leafy greens, milk, cheese, almonds, sardines, blackstrap molasses, edamame, fortified orange juice and calcium-fortified cereals. There are also a number of calcium supplements you can choose from but the best ones are those with vitamin D in combination as they help the absorption of calcium in the body.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an important nutrient when it comes to bone health. A deficiency of this important vitamin can increase the risk of fractures and affect your bone health negatively. Moreover, if there aren’t sufficient levels of vitamin D in the body, our calcium absorption will be affected as well.
Our body synthesizes vitamin D from sunlight exposure so the best way to increase its levels is to expose your knees to sunlight for at least 15 minutes per day, early in the morning. There are also some good food sources of vitamin D like fish, cod liver oil, egg yolks, dairy and fortified cereals. Supplements are also an option but make sure you consult with your doctor for the right dosage.
- Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids (DHA) and EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid, which strengthen your joints and improve bone density. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties which eliminate joint pain and stiffness.
The best sources of fish oil are tuna, mackerel and salmon which should be a part of your diet at least two times a week. You can also consume fish oil, 6gr twice a day but consult with your physician for the proper dosage.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important vitamin that stimulates the formation of collagen, the main component of knee cartilage. This vitamin is also important for normal bone development, improves the bone matrix’s quality and the mass density of bones.
You can increase the levels of vitamin C by adding more bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, lemon, broccoli, papaya, kiwi, berries, Brussel sprouts, spinach and cauliflower. If you plan on taking vitamin C supplements consult with your doctor.
- Healthy Weight
If you’re overweight your knees are under a lot more pressure which inevitably leads to knee pain and problems. That’s why it’s crucial that you decrease your weight as your health will suffer greatly from the excess weight. However, try to lose weight in a healthy way, without any crash diets which can only make matters worse.
- Anti-inflammatory Foods
Painful and weak knees are often the result of an inflammation, which is why you need to eliminate this inflammation in order to improve your condition. There are plenty of foods with potent anti-inflammatory properties like salmon, flaxseeds, olive oil, ginger, turmeric, tart cherries, spinach, walnuts, avocados, sweet potatoes and blueberries. Consume more of these foods to strengthen your knees and restore their flexibility. Avoid foods like white flour, white rice, sugary foods and drinks, soda and saturated fats as they increase the inflammation in your body.
Article and image source : https://holisticlivingtips.com/2017/04/06/10-tips-strengthen-knees-keep-healthy/