Exercise is for the young and young-at-heart. But what if exercise becomes more challenging? People over the age of 65 are sometimes hindered to work out because of here and there. There are some health conditions that can make exercising difficult.

One example is joint pain. Joint pain, especially in the knee, is one of the common causes why many people stop exercising. And once you stop exercise, it is but just the beginning of bigger problems, as it can lead to worsening of arthritis, obesity, and muscle tone loss.

In case you’re wondering and although it seems counteractive to move when you have knee pain, yes, exercise improves arthritis. However, that doesn’t mean you can do whatever movements you like. If you have knee arthritis, try to avoid any exercise that:

  • Flexes the knee past a 90-degree angle
  • Bends the knee while bearing weight
  • Stresses the knee ligaments by leaping from side to side

To help strengthen your knees and work the muscles on your legs, here are some effective movements you can do. Most of these exercises will require you to lie on the floor, so a yoga mat or a thick rug is necessary to avoid straining the back.

1. Brisk Walk or March in Place

Every exercise needs a warm-up to prepare your muscles and heart for an increased activity. It improves the flexibility of your muscles, thereby helping you to stay safe and minimizing the risks of pulls and strains.

Begin to march in place or walk briskly for three to five minutes as a warm-up to ready your leg muscles and allow the knees to expand its range of motion.

Once done, proceed to perform the exercises below. If you’re a beginner, do 1-2 sets of these exercises. For advanced exercisers, performing 2-3 sets with shorts rests in between is recommended.

2. Straight Leg Raise

After the warm-up, strengthen your knees while working out your quads with straight leg raise exercise. This exercise also improves hip strength.

How to:

  • Lie down on the mat with hips flexed and knees bent at an almost 90-degree angle. Keep your arms at the sides with palms flat on the ground.
  • Extend one leg at a time, lifting it so that your leg makes a slanted straight line.
  • Gently bring down your leg and repeat on the other side.
  • Do 30 reps with each leg.

3. Side-lying Straight Leg Raise

This exercise is a variation of the straight leg raise mentioned above. Aside from strengthening your knee joints, the side-lying straight leg raise is also an effective exercise to target your obliques, glutes, hips, and thighs.

How to:

  • Lie on your right side with your right upper arm flat on the mat, elbow flexed, and your hand supporting your head. Place your left hand in front of the body for support.
  • Brace your core, and lift your left leg out to the side as high as you comfortably can.
  • Gently lower the leg, then repeat 20 times.
  • Roll over and repeat on the other side.

4. Side-lying Leg Raise – Variation

This next move is a variation of the side-lying leg raise exercise and targets your core, hips, and inner thigh muscles or adductors while strengthening your knee joints.

How to:

  • Lie on your right side with your right upper arm flat on the mat, elbow flexed, and your hand supporting your head. Place your left hand in front of the body for support.
  • Engage your core, then using the muscles of your inner thigh, lift your right leg forward in front of the left leg.
  • Perform 20 times.
  • Roll over and repeat on the other side.

5. Prone Leg Raise

The prone leg raise is a great exercise to work your hamstring muscles and glutes, and at the same time, strengthen your knees and target your abs.

How to:

  • From lying on your left side, roll your body so that you lie on your stomach with legs extended.
  • Use a pillow or bend your elbows and place your arms in front underneath your chin to support your head and chest.
  • Gently lift your right leg off the floor while keeping a straight knee.
  • Slowly lower your leg down.
  • Perform 20 times, then repeat on the other side.

6. Standing Calf Raise

The standing calf raise is an excellent exercise to develop the strength and size of the lower leg muscles. This simple exercise also increases the range of motion of the ankles and strengthens the joints of the legs, especially the knees.

How to:

  • Stand with legs shoulder-distance apart and arms at the sides. You can use a wall for support.
  • Begin to raise your heels off the floor as high as you comfortably can.
  • Lower them down. Repeat 30 times.

Today is the best time to start working and strengthening our knee joints and the muscles that support our knees. And as we grow in years, exercise should never be out of our routine. Remember, the lack of exercise can lead to worsening of health conditions.

How do you exercise your knees? We’d love to read about your routines in the comments below!

What if exercise becomes a challenge? Joint pain in the knee is a common cause. Here are some Practical knee exercises you can do to strengthen them.