If it’s been a while since you last exercised, your body will rebel to any activity your body is not familiar with.
Moreover, a workout plan that has not been properly executed can be hard on the knees.
To get back into an exercise routine, a light-to-moderate activity like walking is the best strategy.
Walking is also ideal for people that suffer with knee pain from osteoarthritis. It seems like a paradox given that moving your joints can be painful, but walking has been shown to ease pain in osteoarthritic patients.
Multiple scientific studies have shown that walking actually has a number of health benefits including improving blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Walking on a regular basis helps to strengthen the springy tissue in your joints so they act like shock absorbers. You will also build the muscles in your legs, helps manage your weight, stimulate your mind and boost your immune system.
How Does Walking Improve Knee Pain?
If you do have mild to moderate knee pain, walking helps by mobilising the fluid in your joints. This provides a lubricant so that the joints move more freely and with less pain.
On the flip side, if you notice you develop knee pain after exercising, take the right precautions to negate the risk of soreness.
In this article we discuss 12 strategies you can use to reduce knee pain when walking. The more often you exercise correctly, the less strain you will feel on your knees as time passes.
It should be noted that severe pain in the knee joint is a sign of inflammation. If you have already consulted a doctor or sort any kind of treatment, do so immediately as there could be underlying causes.
Protect Your Knees When Walking
1. Warm Up Properly
Applying heat to your joints with warm up exercises helps to prepare your knees for exercise walking. Start at an easy pace and gradually make the stretches more vigourous.
When fitness walking, you will use some muscles more than others. It’s therefore important that you spend at least 10 minutes performing a wide range of stretching to balance the stress on your body.
2. Pick up the Pace Gradually
Improving your fitness is a gradual process. Don’t feel obligated to go full pelt on your first few sessions. Doing so will invite knee pain. If it has been a while since you exercised, follow a beginners guide to fitness walking.
Experts recommend walking at a steady pace in the first few sessions. You can alter your speed by walking briskly at 2.5 to 3.5 mph. As your fitness improves you will find you can maintain a brisk pace for longer.
3. Increase The Number of Steps Over Time
Researchers found that walking between 12,000 and 15,000 steps a day is the optimum distance to boost the health benefits of walking. However, this can be a tall target for beginners and people with sensitive knees.
Another study found that 6000 steps a day is suitable for people that suffer from mild to moderate osteoarthritis. Make that your first milestone. You can increase your step count little by little each week.
4. Invest In A Good Pair Of Walking Shoes
Not all shoes are ideal for walking. As a matter of fact, fashionable shoes are problematic for your knees. A good pair of walking shoes should be flexible, comfortable and have components that protect your joints and tendons built-in.
If you have weak knee joints, consider investing in a pair of motion control walking shoes. This type of footwear is specially moulded to fit your gait and provide support for your knees. They are typically heavier than conventional walking shoes but provide the balance you need.
5. Use inserts
In addition to investing in a good pair of walking shoes, adding inserts that support your foot arch. Over-the-counter orthotics that provide cushioning is ideal for most people, but if you have severe knee pain, consult a doctor or podiatrist for advice.
6. Keep Moving
Moving your knee joints should not be limited to your walking exercises. If you do suffer from sensitive knees, experts recommend flexing your knee every 15 minutes or so.
When you at home or in the office, get up and walking around. Whilst watching TV or reading in the evening, perform imaginary leg curls. The more you move your knees the more your body releases joint fluid and eases the pain.
7. Walk on Soft Surfaces
Hard surfaces can damage your knee and ankle joints. Soft surfaces are also less stressful on your shins. Wherever possible do your brisk walking on soft surfaces such as grass, mud, sand and cinder tracks.
Purposefully heading to natural environments is a good strategy for walkers that suffer from sensitive knees. Walking in nature also provides you with a host of other health benefits that help you ward off virus’ and infections.
8. Take a Day Off
Although you should flex your knee joints regularly, putting them under too much strain every day will cause long-term damage. If you do not your knee joints are tighter the day after your exercise, ease off with fitness walking.
As an alternative, you can either go for a stroll, or engage in another form of exercise that is less strenuous on your knees. Cycling or swimming is a good option.
9 . Watch Your Weight
Your knees support your weight more than any other part of your body. Therefore, the more excess weight you are carrying, the more stress you are putting on your leg joints.
Walking can help you lose weight but you should also adopt a healthy eating diet as well.
10. Make An Ice Pack
If you are suffering from inflammation on the knee, apply an ice-pack after walking to help ease the swelling.
11. Support Your Knees With Walking Poles
If your trekking off-beat, uneven terrain can put extra stress on your knees. Using walking poles can help you distribute some the weight to your arms and reduce the fatigue in your knee joints.
12. Choose Your Moments
People with sensitive knees typically have good and bad moments throughout the day. If you tend to be stiff in the morning, don’t try walking exercise until later in the day.
Experts recommend easing your way into exercise by walking around every two to five minutes and refrain from walking long distances for at least two hours.