Protect and pamper your knees now, and they’ll keep you striding strong and pain-free for life. Here are key stretching and strengthening moves from physical therapist Lisa Konstantellis.
Stand at arm’s length away from a wall. Place your right foot behind your left foot. With your hands against the wall for support, slowly bend your left knee forward, keeping your right knee straight, your right heel on the floor, and your left knee above your left foot. Hold for about 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Lie or sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight out in front of you and a towel roll under your right knee. Push your knee down into the towel while you tighten your thigh. Hold for five seconds, then release. Do three sets of 10 reps, then switch legs.
Straight leg raise
Lie down with right leg extended and left leg bent. Lift your straight leg up until both knees meet, then slowly lower. Do three sets of ten reps, then switch legs.
Lie on your back, both legs straight, and place a long strap around the ball of your right foot. Using the strap, lift your leg until you feel a stretch behind your knee and thigh. (Make sure your knee’s not locked.) Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times, then switch legs. The number-one secret for happy knees? Stay at a healthy weight. Every extra pound you pack on puts about 4 extra pounds of pressure on your knees when you walk or take the stairs.