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Did you know that knees are one of the most stressed joints in your body? For every pound you weigh, your knees receive four times the amount of stress! Knees absorb a lot of shock on a daily basis, from walking to taking the stairs, to jumping and running.
Knees are also the largest and most complicated joint in the body, composed of the femur or thigh bone, the patella or kneecap, and the top section of the tibia or shin bone, plus the fibula (the outer side of the shin), all held in place by tendons and ligaments, with cartilage in between. Not only that, but knees rely on at least TEN muscles to function. The quadriceps, which consist of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and vastus medialis. Also, the hamstrings, which refer to a group of muscles including semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris. Hip abductors, glute muscles, and calf muscles also work together to stabilise the knee joint. The knee is a synovial joint, meaning it contains a fluid-filled capsule. Knees can become prone to injury, so it’s important to strengthen these muscles to help alleviate the daily weight-bearing stresses experienced by the knees.
Extended periods of inactivity cause soft tissue to become tight and weak, and can even irritate the cartilage lining the kneecaps. Going on long walks, using the stairs instead of the elevator, or riding a bike are all great options to promote knee health. Your shoes also play a part in your knee health. Shoes that don’t offer adequate support or shoes that are worn out can increase pressure on your knees. Warming up before any type of physical activity–even walking–gives your knees the opportunity to adapt to the repetitive movement, which is crucial in injury prevention, plus it helps improve your athletic performance.
Pilates is a great form of exercise with many benefits for the knees, because the repertoire both stretches and strengthens muscles and joints. Pilates allows you to work in various planes of motion, changing your physical orientation, and loading your joints in different ways.
This month, Retrofit Pilates is focusing on Knee Health. Follow us at @retrofitpilates for exercises, tips and information on how Pilates can play a role in improving knee fitness.
See you in class!
Retrofit Master Instructor
Lead Instructor/Operations Associate