Flexible joints give us the range of motion that we need to get around in daily life, but that same flexibility can also be a source of weakness and eventual injury. Joint pain and dysfunction in the knee is extremely common, especially for older adults or individuals who have had a sports injury in the past. To keep your knees, hips, and shoulders in healthy working order, try these exercises to strengthen and stabilize your joints and prevent future pain and injury.
One Leg Balance
The one leg balance is very straightforward. Standing with your feet just slightly less than shoulder-width apart shift your weight to one foot without locking the knee joint. Then, lift your opposite leg and hold the position for 30 seconds.
Lie face-down on the ground with your arms stretched straight out in front of you and your legs straight out behind. Using your abdominal muscles and lower back strength, raise your arms and legs an inch or two off the ground, hold the position for ten seconds and release on an exhale.
Double Leg Bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent, about hip width apart, and your arms at your sides. Focusing on your pelvis, exhale as you lift your hips off the ground, hold for a second, and release back down to the floor. Repeat the exercise fifteen to twenty times for 3 sets.
Lie on right side on floor with legs stacked, propping torso on right elbow, resting head on right palm. Keeping left leg straight, lift left leg as high as you can while maintaining a straight back and hold for one count; lower to start.
Front Leg Lifts
Sit on floor with legs extended and recline torso 45 degrees, propping upper body up on forearms, then bend right leg, placing right foot flat on floor. Keeping left leg straight, raise left leg a few inches off floor, hold for one count, then lower to start.
Rest your hands against a wall or a sturdy object for balance. Raise your heels a few inches above the edge of the step so that you’re on your tiptoes. Hold the position for a moment, and then lower your heels below the platform, feeling a stretch in your calf muscles. The standing calf raise works your calf muscles.