With age and inactive lifestyle, your joints and bone health may get affected. Knee pain is a common condition that affects millions of people across the world. The reasons could range from arthritis, injury or not moving enough. While walking or doing any kind of physical activity seems counter-intuitive when your joints are stiff or painful, however, that’s exactly you need to do for improving your mobility. Walking can strengthen muscles and joints surrounding the knees and also helps with joint lubrication. Walking regularly can also help one lose weight which can further relieve pressure from knees and alleviate pain. (Also read: Minimum number of steps you should walk to avoid lifestyle diseases; fitness experts reveal)
“Knee pain can be a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While rest and medication are commonly recommended, incorporating walking into your routine can offer significant advantages for alleviating knee pain. Walking is a low-impact exercise that provides numerous benefits for knee health,” says Dr Ashwani Maichand, Director – Department of Orthopaedics, CK Birla Hospital (R), Delhi.
Benefits of walking for knee health
Dr Ashwani explains benefits of walking for your knee health:
Strengthening the muscles and joints
Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that helps strengthen the muscles and joints surrounding the knee. As you walk, the impact stimulates the bones, muscles, and cartilage, encouraging them to become stronger and more resilient. The quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles are all engaged during walking, providing stability and support to the knee joint. Strengthening these muscles helps to alleviate stress on the knee, improve joint function, and reduce pain associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Promoting joint lubrication
When you walk, the movement of the knee joint stimulates the production of synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant. This fluid helps reduce friction between the bones, allowing for smoother and pain-free movement. Regular walking helps maintain proper joint lubrication, preventing stiffness and discomfort. Improved lubrication also enhances shock absorption, protecting the knee from excessive impact during daily activities.
Enhancing flexibility and range of motion
Walking involves a full range of motion for the knees, promoting flexibility in the joint and surrounding muscles. This increased flexibility helps to alleviate knee pain caused by tightness or stiffness. Regular walking encourages better joint mobility and allows for greater ease of movement. Over time, as flexibility improves, individuals may experience reduced pain, increased comfort, and enhanced overall functionality.
Managing weight and reducing pressure on the knees
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for knee health. Excess weight places additional strain on the knee joints, leading to increased pain and potential damage. Walking is an effective exercise for weight management, as it burns calories and contributes to overall fat loss. By shedding excess pounds through walking, individuals can reduce the load on their knees, relieving pressure and decreasing pain. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with conditions such as osteoarthritis, as weight reduction can alleviate symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.
Boosting mood and psychological well-being
Chronic knee pain can negatively impact an individual’s mental well-being. Walking not only benefits physical health but also has a positive impact on mental health. Engaging in regular walking releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones, which can improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, walking provides an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, connect with nature, and enhance overall psychological well-being.
“Walking is a simple, accessible, and effective remedy for knee pain. By incorporating walking into your daily routine, you can strengthen the muscles and joints, promote joint lubrication, enhance flexibility, manage weight, and boost your mood. However, it’s important to start gradually and consult with a healthcare professional if you have severe knee pain or any underlying conditions. Embrace the advantages of walking and take proactive steps towards alleviating knee pain for a healthier and more active lifestyle,” says Dr Ashwani.