Although the knee is the largest and most complex joint in the human body, it’s also rather fragile and is prone to injury. If you’re a cyclist or a runner, chances are high that you or someone you know has experienced knee pain. With these five stretches, you can keep your knees healthy and strong as you exercise:
Hip Flexor Stretch
First, find a carpeted area and position yourself in front of a wall. Get into a kneeling position and slide your left leg back until your knee fits into the spot where the wall and the floor meet. Plant your other foot on the floor, making a 90-degree angle with both legs. With glutes engaged, slowly drive your hip forward and downward. Perform this stretch on each side for two minutes.
Lie down on a foam roller sideways and use your hands to support most of your weight so that your feet are off the ground. Next, roll from just below your hip down to your knee for 30 seconds. Repeat this on the front of the quad and the inside of the quad and groin. Switch sides and repeat on the other leg.
Lie on your back and keep both legs straight. Place a resistance band around the ball of your left foot and grip the band with both hands. Slowly lift your leg (keep it slightly bended) until you feel a slight stretch in the middle of your thigh on the backside. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and switch legs. Repeat two times daily.
Wall Calf Stretch
Stand slightly less than an arm’s length away from the wall. Put your left leg forward and your right leg back, keeping both feet parallel. Slowly lean forward into the wall until you feel a stretch in your right calf. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Place your back against a wall and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lower yourself into a sitting position so that your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold for 20 seconds (longer if you can) and repeat three times with a 30-second rest between each set.
Injury prevention by following these simple maneuvers can go a long way to keeping you active. More advanced exercises may be indicated in certain situations, but this basic group is sufficient for most individuals. Be safe and have fun out there!