The impact of jogging and running can wreak havoc on your knee joints. Making sure that you follow these simple rules to lessen the stress on your knees will keep you in top form.
Invest in Good Shoes. Choose the best pair of jogging shoes, and trade them out for new ones when they get too worn. The right shoes will soften the impact on your knees.
Find a Softer Surface. Concrete is the hardest surface to jog on. Try to find softer surfaces than the sidewalk - whether it is (safely) on the side of an asphalt road, jogging path, dirt or gravel.
Remember to Stretch. Be sure to stretch well before and after jogging, to loosen your tendons and ligaments as well as muscles. Stretching is a must to keep your joints healthy and avoid injury.
Strengthen Your Quads. Your quadriceps (upper thigh muscles) need to be strong to help absorb the impact of jogging. There are several exercises that can help improve your quads to prevent knee pain and joint damage. Lunges, squats, wall slides and leg lifts will get your quads in shape and protect your knees.
Lunges. Stand up straight while feet shoulders width apart and toes pointing forward. Take a large step forward, bending your back leg with your heel raised slightly. The forward leg should be supporting most of your weight, and be sure not to let your knee go past your toes. Hold this position for a few seconds and step back intostanding position. Repeat several times with one leg and then do the same number of lunges with your other leg.
Squats. Stand straight, feet shoulders width apart, and lower yourself into a sitting position at a 90 degree angle. Don’t let your knees stick out past your toes.
Wall slides. A variation of squats, this exercise is better for beginners and makes it easier to maintain your balance. Lean your back straight against a wall and slide slowly down to a squatting position – like sitting in a chair – hold for 5 seconds, then slide back up until you are standing. Repeat these wall slides in repetitions of 10-15 at a time until you build up strength to increase reps.
Leg Lifts. This is another simple exercise to strengthen your quads. Lay flat on your back. One leg at a time, lift your leg to about a 45 degree angle and hold for five seconds. Repeat several repetitions and alternate legs.
All of these exercises will help avoid knee pain and joint damage when jogging.