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Stretching your knees can prevent performance injuries.
Whether its limited mobility or pain, knee problems can cause a world of frustration. Tight knees can make even the most basic activities difficult, from walking your dog to an aerobics class, knee pain makes even fun activities unenjoyable. To prevent tightness in your knees, regular movement and stretching will help reduce the chance of mobility issues. Even small stretches throughout the day - at the office or at home - can greatly improve knee health.
To Move Or Not To Move
Before starting a workout, dynamic stretching -- stretches that involve movement -- are recommended over static stretching, in which you hold the stretch without any movement. While both types of stretching have benefits, according to Human Kinetics, dynamic stretches are increasingly recommended as they encourage overall flexibility while improving range of movement and functional mobility. Use dynamic stretching at the start of a workout routine to safely warm up your knee, and static stretching at the end to help cool down and lengthen your muscles.
Standing Knee Stretches
The benefit of standing knee stretches is that they can be done almost anywhere, and are fairly discreet, making them good choices for when you're at work or at home, when getting onto the floor might not be an option. Exercises such as hip swings and kick variations - to the side, to the front and behind for a butt workout - build your range of motion while encouraging flexibility. Standing stretches - such as a standing calf stretch - allows you to use your bodyweight to increase the depth of the stretch if necessary. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your arms straight in front of your, hands against the wall and step back with your right leg as you pull your shoulder blades down and back. Lean your body toward the wall, bending at the elbows while keeping your right leg straight, shifting your weight forward. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds before switching sides, stepping back with your left leg. Repeat about two to four times.
Lying Knee Stretches
Lying down places the least amount of pressure on your knees, while still helping stretch tight muscles. You can use a lying knee stretch to warm up before moving to a standing knee stretch, where more weight will be placed on your knees. Lie on your back with your feet together, and bring one knee up to your chest, wrapping your hands around the back of the knee and gently pull it further up. You can hold the stretch like this for 15 to 30 seconds, or you can flex your foot and turn your hip outwards, moving your knee away from your other leg to change the stretch to a dynamic one. Switch between knees, repeating two to four times per knee.
Regular Stretching for Knees
While regular stretching is essential to overall health, chronic knee pain or tightness can be a symptom of a more severe, underlying condition. If your regularly experience knee pain, you may have problems with your tendons or your joints that require medical attention. In particular, torn ligaments or osteoarthritis can lead to regular knee pain and tightness in the area. If you regularly experience tight knees, speak with a doctor to ensure there are not more serious medical complications.