Knees are an important part of the body, how do we keep them from going bad?

One of the most crucial joints in our bodies is our knee. It is also one of the most easily injured joint due to its placement and structure. The good news is that there are plenty of exercises we can do to strengthen the muscles around our knees to keep them from getting injured. Think up, down, and side to side to get the most out of your knees.

Toe and heel raises. This exercise is ridiculously easy. You simply raise your heels up, you’re your toes. These can be done from either a standing or sitting position. It would be a good idea for beginner exercisers to start in a sitting position. Then progress to adding weights, put them on your thighs, back from your knees. After you get more proficient and stronger, try it from a standing position (make sure you’re around something like a chair or table here so if you lose your balance, you have something to grab onto.). Again, after getting proficient, add weights. Try one, then one in each hand. For more of a challenge, try doing them of a step.

Inner and outer thigh exercises. This is also very easily done. From a standing position, simply raise your leg out to the side. Then sweep it across your body so it crosses your other leg in front. Repeat on the opposite side. You can add weight by placing a weight on the side of your thigh and raising it, then move it to the inside and raise it there. Be sure to keep your abdominals tight to help you keep your balance.

Leg Raises & Hamstring Curls. This requires you to lift your leg when sitting, and when standing, kick your butt with your foot. To make it more intense, you can add ankle weights.

When it comes to your knee, working your entire leg is the best defense. Think bottom to top, side to side, and front to back. Once you've mastered some of the moves above and added weights, you can try some squats or lunges. Practice sitting and standing from the couch without using your hands. Take giant steps. When doing these exercises, be sure your knee stays in line with your ankle and NEVER goes over your toes. That would make the exercise harmful vs. helpful. You can also try walking sideways, or taking steps left, then right. For more information, you can contact the Wayne County YMCA at (570)253-2083, or visit us online at