Taking care of our knees every day
It is important to take care of our knees while we are participating in our favourite physical activity. However, it’s equally or even more important to keep our knees in mind while doing everyday tasks. During an ordinary day, we are walking, going up or down the stairs, squatting, lifting things, etc. It becomes very important to learn to perform correct movements while doing everyday things, because this is what we are doing most of our time, and this greatly will influence the knee joint’s health.
Look at the way you are walking and standing. Do you let your knee joints to fall inward or outward (duck feet) instead of using your thigh muscles to hold the correct posture? For example, an unhealthy angle inwards will wear out the medial (inside) side of knee cartilage – the same thing that happens to car tires that are left crooked, degrading them lot faster than normal. The point is that your body weight should rest on your muscles, not on your joints, as this puts unnecesary pressure on knee cartilage and ligaments.
Now check how you normally bend your knees in order to lift things from the ground. Do your knees pass forward of your toes, and you are lifting your heels while squatting? Squatting this unhealthy way will put a lot of pressure on the knee joint, not to mention that you’ll hurting your lower back, also. Neither the knee joint nor the spinal cord are designed to hold the weight of your body or other objects; this is what body muscles are for. Instead, keep the heels on the ground and the knees back so you can see your toes, and use leg muscles to lift things.
Healthy way to lift
You should apply the same technique for going up stairs. Instead of stepping on your toes, keep your body weight toward the heel of upper leg – the foot that is stepping up. While going down stairs, keep the pressure on the upper leg until the leg that steps down is firmly on the ground. Instead of jumping downstairs, use the muscles of the upper leg to decelerate.
It’s very common to see people standing and walking with their knee joints hyperextended backwards. This bad posture puts body weight on the knee joint while crushing knee cartilage. It looks bad, and it’s bad for the knee joint.
Hyperextended knee joints
Many people have developed bad posture because it might feel easier not to use muscles to hold the body weight. Using body muscles requires energy, and we are designed to save energy as much as possible due to the lack of food in our ancient history. The lack of energy (food) now also is history, but our body is not aware of it, and we continue to save energy. Also, bad posture was not a big problem back in the days when the average life expectancy was around 30 years.
As we all know, our brain consists of neocortex (new brain) and the legacy part, also called a reptilian brain. Our reptilian brain will tell us to eat all the cookies from the dinner table, while the neocortex will advise that it would not be a very good idea. Now, you have two choices: You could turn off the neocortex and eat all the cookies, or you can use your brain (neocortex). The smarter way to do things is to use the new part of the brain.
The good news is that keeping a good posture eventually will be a good habit so you don’t have to think about it anymore while walking and squatting. By squatting and walking the right way, we are getting good exercise and, at the same time, taking good care of our knee joints!