Over the course of the years, my fitness and sporting lifestyle has led to plenty of injuries. Here is the short list:
— Fractures: four fingers, one thumb.
— Anklesprains: at least a half dozen, with one resulting in a cast for six weeks.
— Back: Hospitalized twice along with various trips to doctors and physical therapists.
— Shoulder: Rotator cuff surgery.
— Concussion: Twice, including an unfortunate collision with a high school running back while pregnant with the twins.
Keep in mind these are just the official things that I actually bothered to show to a doctor. The other aches and pains are too many to count. The one body partd that have never failed me however, aremy knees.
I have been doing my Kenpo Kickboxing routine faithfully for several months. It is very low impact except for the “rest breaks,” which include 20 seconds of jumping jacks four times during the course of the workout.
About two weeks ago, I started to notice some soreness in both knees, including a crunchity crunch noise going up steps or going from sitting to standing. I deduced that more than likely the jumping jacks are the culprit. I was never very good at physics or math but figured out the following formula:
Me about 20 pounds heavier and 50 years old + 80 jumping jacks x 3 times a week = sore knees.
Rather than throw in the towel on my kickboxing, I have substituted a more low-impact exercise for the jumping jack section. So far so good, but what can we do to keep our fitness routine intact while saving our knees for Sunday service?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis is the main cause of knee pain in adults. It affects almost 50 percent of adults at some time in their lives. Many former professional athletes suffer from osteoarthritis in their knees and hips and many have joint replacement surgery.
In order to keep our knees pain and osteoarthritis free, it is important to limit the amount of stress and pounding. Here are some low-impact ways to get your exercise in and protect your knees:
— Low-impact cardiovascular: To eliminate stress on the knees, you need to take the impact out of your workout. Stationary bikes as well as elliptical trainers are great substitutions for running or high-impact aerobics.
— Water exercise: The buoyancy created by working out in water is just the thing to keep your knees from creaking. Pool running, swimming and water aerobics are just a few of the options.
— Flexibility exercises: Stretching your legs before and after exercise — calf, hamstring and quadriceps — can help keep your joints flexible.
These are just a few ideas to keep your knees quiet and happy. If you suffer from severe or long lasting knee pain, see your physician for guidance.