As you can tell by now strengthening your knees is shifting the focus strictly from your knees to your entire lower body. Stretching your calves is easy to do and can be done at home or in the office. Start by holding on to a chair or other surface and step back with one leg. Bend your left or right leg and with your other leg step backward and plant the foot on the ground. Be sure that your knees are not going over your toes and that your bent leg is forming a 90-degree angle. You will immediately feel the stretch in your calf muscle. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on your opposite leg. Do not push yourself if you feel any burning sensation while stretching. It should feel good, not painful. The benefits of calf stretches are that releasing tight calves will loosen up the muscle. Pain or tightness in the calf muscle can transfer to your knees.
Squats can be intimidating especially if you already suffer from knee pain or discomfort. A full squat can even be difficult for anyone, which is why you will love the partial squat. You can use a chair or imagine an invisible chair is behind you so that you can successfully complete this exercise. Squats train the leg muscles and as you might know, strong legs make for healthy and happy knees. Stand with legs hip-width apart and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Gently bend at the knees while keeping your back straight and begin to lower yourself as if you were going to sit down in a chair. Your knees should never go over your toes and they should stay in line with your legs and hips. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds and then raise your body up to a straight standing position. Do this 10-12 times for best results.
Your hamstrings are easily susceptible to tightness and like tight calf muscles, this can transfer to pain or discomfort in your knees. Stretching also increases flexibility and range of motion; both of which are necessary for happy and healthy, pain-free joints and knees. Stand with your legs straight and step one foot forward with your toes up to the air. Bend your other leg as if you were going to sit back into a chair. Your upper body will come forward at the hip and you will feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds while breathing deeply and be sure to watch for your bent knee so that it does not go over your toes. Always remember that when stretching it should feel good, not painful.
Straight Leg LiftRelated: 9 Great Exercises For Sciatica And Lower Back Pain
Straightforward and low impact, straight leg lifts are excellent for building strength in the muscles that surround and support the knee. The best part of this exercise is that you get to lie down. Lay flat on your back with legs straight out in front of you. Next, bend one leg while the other leg remains straight and slowly lifts off the ground. Depending on your personal preference the height at which your leg will be lifted can vary. Hold the lifted leg in the air for 3-5 seconds and gently bring it down and complete 2 sets of 10 for each leg. Keep your tummy tight and avoid arching your back, as this will cause injury and pain. Your lower back should be touching the floor at all times. This is also great for toning your core, which will help improve overall balance and posture.