My knees have never been particularly strong and my doctors always told me that I should stay away from any high impact sports because of my weight.
Then, some years ago I decided to take up badminton and running; two sports give your knees a pounding! After running two half marathons, I could tell I needed to find a way to strengthen them, or they wouldn’t last much longer. About 3 years ago I experienced a very nasty fall and badly injured my right knee, I literally landed with all my weight on it. At first, I thought it was broken, but luckily, it was just badly bruised and my knee cap felt a bit loose. (Ew!)
Then I wasn’t happy just running half marathons, I wanted to go the whole hog and run the London Marathon, which I did last year. After the race I could tell my knee was in pretty bad shape, but I wasn’t too worried, because I’ve always been a believer that whatever the problem, the body is equipped with the power to heal and regenerate.
As with anything, you can help the healing process by thinking the right way, and combining it with the right course of action.
I didn’t want to give up badminton, or running, as I love them both too much. So I had to find a new solution.
I’d had several discussions with medical professionals and physiotherapists, about my knees, none of whom provided me with satisfactory answers or techniques about strengthening them.
Then, I made a little accidental discovery, that changed everything. I put my theory to the test and viola! My knees now are much stronger than they have ever been. I don’t get knee pains any longer and I feel like I could run a few more marathons easily!
Before I come to the main answer, you do have to do the basics. You have to eat well and drink plenty of water. You have to exercise properly, warm up and warm down. Stretching, yoga and pilates all will help rejuvenate your joints, as well as making sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
If you do high impact exercises then prepare to fork out for a new pair of trainers at least every 3 to 6 months. That is a must! I personally prefer the cheaper variety. I find that the more expensive you get, the less effective they are at protecting your joints.
I’m a UK size 14 so getting badminton shoes was also not an option for me as they don’t make them in my size. Instead I went for the next best thing and I buy simple running shoes which cost around £30.
A £30 investment every 6 months is a very small price to pay for keeping your joints in order.
How To Strengthen Your Knees
This technique is so simple and it can be incorporated into your daily routine. What you have to do first is carefully observe how you walk down the stairs. If you have a problematic knee, when you step down using that leg, is your motion a collapsing motion, or is it a controlled and smooth action?
When I used to walk down stairs and I was stepping down from my right leg onto my left, my motion was not smooth, it was as if my leg was totally collapsing and had no strength.
So I spent time, building my knee back up again by consciously paying attention to the way I was walking down the stairs. When stepping down I would purposefully make my left leg take it’s time, forcing my right knee to develop the muscles needed to keep it strong.
So, if you’re having knee trouble, try this technique. Take your time walking down the stairs while paying attention to the type of motion it makes. if one of your knees is the problem, and you find that when all your weight is on that leg while the other leg steps down, and it is an uncontrolled collapsing motion, slow down the movement down until you can easily do it in a smooth fluid action.
What it does is build the relevant muscles that keep your knee from suffering cartilage or ligament damage.
In addition, I tried a new technique of running up the stairs, only when I got to a point where I felt my knee was strong enough. It was a simple and gentle canter up the stairs with a little extra bounce. I found that built my quad muscles very quickly as well as tone up the hammies.
Always remember to seek proper medical advice if you’re having the same issue.
Coming soon: how to strengthen your back; and when I’ve worked that one out, I’ll be a very happy bunny! 😆