Holiday season takes its toll. Quality time spent with family and friends usually means putting on some weight as well, and getting lazier than usual. Sitting around, chatting, sipping wine and not moving much, let alone exercising, is great, but it also means January will be your month of slowly getting back in shape, one way or the other.
We’ve already written about some simple exercises that will help you strengthen your knees in one of our previous blog posts, but there’s so much more you can do to keep your knees healthy and pain free. The key is to put some pressure on your knees without risking further damage or more pain. Naturally, you should consult your doctor if necessary, but the main idea here is to try to strengthen the muscles that support your knee.
Walk the walk
A recent study* showed that walking for exercise can reduce new frequent knee pain among people aged 50 and older diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. Additionally, the study indicated that walking for exercise may be an effective form of treatment to slow the damage that occurs within the joint.
The researchers examined two groups of people aged 50 years or more: “walkers“, or those who reported 10 or more instances of exercise and “non-walkers“, i.e. those who reported less. The walkers had 40% decreased odds of new frequent knee pain compared to the non-walkers.
Aside from health benefits – such as improved cardiovascular health and decreased risk of obesity, and diabetes – walking is a free activity with minimal side effects, unlike medications you take, which often come with a substantial price tag and a number of potential side effects.
Run away from pain
Contrary to popular belief, running is not bad for your knees. As a recent NY Times article showed, a systematic review of M.R.I. studies found no evidence that running causes either short-term or long-term damage to knee cartilage.
In the end, it’s all about the cartilage. And how to feed it. Cartilage is the tissue that cushions the bones of the knee and other joints. Its breakdown is the primary cause of osteoarthritis. However, scientists used to think it couldn’t repair itself, but now we know that’s not the case.
Activities like walking and running squeeze the cartilage in the knee joint like a sponge, expelling waste and drawing in a fresh supply of nutrient- and oxygen-rich fluid with each step. Instead of being an inert shock-absorber doomed to get brittle and eventually fail with age, Ms. Khan said in the article, “cartilage is a living tissue that adapts and thrives with regular use”. A study from 2010 showed that non-runners who followed a 10-week running program saw a 1.9% improvement in cartilage strength and quality.
Shorter and more frequent runs (or walks) are the key: the cells in cartilage respond positively to exercise for about 10 minutes. After that, you’re accumulating more stress and damage in the tissue with no further adaptive benefits. Also, try to exercise regularly: the weekend warrior effect is not good for you. What your knees can handle today depends on what they’ve been doing over the preceding weeks and months.
Try the patch
Take a look at our users’ reviews: LUBRICEN® Knee Patch is a knee pain management alternative that works! The patented diamagnetic micro-array technology built into the patch enhances the delivery of key ingredients – Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, and Menthol – into bioavailable areas of the knee. As a result, you and your knees will feel better and ready for action.
What LUBRICEN® Knee Patch does is help your body produce synovial fluid, the body’s natural joint lubricant. Exercise and daily activities place various load forces on your knee joints. The result is often a loss of synovial fluid, which makes cartilage compromised and results in inflammation. This is the “knee pain” most people feel when trying to be physically active. So give the patch a chance and see if it works as well as we think it will.
Whatever you decide to do – stay active. Walk, run, wear the patch. Just keep that cartilage of yours well fed.
*Led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, published in Arthritis & Rheumatology