How to protect your knees now to prevent problems later: Lose excess weight, choose low-impact workouts and strengthen your core.
By taking extra strain off your joints, you can reduce your risk of arthritis later in life. One of the best things you can do is lose any extra weight you might be carrying around. According to William Bryan, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at the Methodist Center for Sports Medicine in Houston, every step you take puts three times your body weight on your knee. Running applies five times your weight, while jumping applies a whopping seven times your weight onto your knees. That means a modest weight loss of 10 pounds could take 30 to 50 pounds of pressure off your knees when you walk or run. What’s more, research shows that losing weight may actually improve knee health, even if you already have arthritis. “If you are experiencing frequent knee pain, lifestyle changes might be in order,” Dr. Bryan said in a news release from the Methodist Center for Sports Medicine. Weak core muscles — that is, your abdominals, back, glutes and pelvis — can also contribute to knee issues. By strengthening them, you can improve balance and stability during everyday activities.