7 Tips for Strengthening Aging Knees

Are you starting to have a little difficulty with your knee joints? Stiffness and pain after exercise aren’t uncommon for aging Americans, so finding modified workout routines that don’t jar your knees should be a priority.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, our team of experienced pain medicine doctors can help relieve your knee pain to make it easier for you to exercise and strengthen your joints. 

Tips for exercising and strengthening aging knees

Before you begin exercising, check with your doctor at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine to make sure your exercise plan dovetails with your current knee health and can help you achieve your mobility goals. These seven exercises are typically safe for knees of all ages and even for arthritis patients and can help you increase your strength and muscle tone, while improving flexibility. 

1. Mini squat with support

Hold onto the back of a sturdy, heavy chair or the edge of a counter. Stand with your knees about shoulder-width apart and your feet pointing forward. Slowly bend your knees as if you were going to sit in a chair, then slowly straighten again. Repeat 10 times, then rest.

You can adjust how deeply you bend your knees for a slight feeling of strain without pain. If you worry about falling, do this exercise at a counter with a chair behind you, so if you lose your grip, you will simply sit in the chair.

2. Quad tightening

Sit on the floor on a mat with a pillow under your knees and your legs stretched straight out in front of you. You can brace your back against a wall. Tighten the muscle in the back of your lower leg, and hold it in a contracted position for a count of three to five seconds, then release. Repeat on the other leg, and do 10 sets.  

3. Standing hamstring curl

Hold onto the back of a sturdy, heavy chair or the edge of a counter. Stand with your feet close together, toes pointing forward. Without moving your hip, bend one leg at the knee, and try to touch your heel to your buttocks. Hold for three to five seconds, then lower your leg slowly. Repeat with the other leg, and do 10 sets.

4. In-place marching

You can do this exercise on your own or while holding onto a stationary object for balance. Simply march in place, bringing your knee up to the highest comfortable height with each step. Try to maintain your marching for a full 60 seconds. You might need to break for a few minutes after 30 seconds. 

5. Heel raises

Hold onto the back of a sturdy, heavy chair or the edge of a counter. Rise up on your toes, lifting your heels off the ground. Hold for three to five seconds, then lower yourself slowly. Repeat 15-20 times. 

6. Clamshells

Lie on one side with your hip and knee bent to approximately a 90-degree angle and your feet together. Keep your ankles pressed together and raise your top knee up about 12 inches, like opening a clam. Repeat 15-20 times, and switch to do the other side.  

7. Squeeze and slide

Stand with your back against a wall with your feet about a foot apart, and hold a small soccer ball between your knees. Squeeze your knees together, so you don’t drop the ball, lean back against the wall, and slide downward by bending your knees. Hold for three to five seconds, then push yourself back up. Repeat 10 times. You can go down as far as you can comfortably get back up. 

The CDC reminds patients that it’s important to check with your doctor if you start to experience moderate-to-severe pain that lingers. Don’t “push through it,” but call our office instead.

Ready for stronger, healthier knees and a more active, less painful life? Call our office at 

201-201-0443, fill out our web-based contact form, or book an appointment using our online scheduling system today.

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