Weak knees and ankles can really increase your chances of falls, sprains, strains and so much more, making it important to keep these joints healthy and strong. From stretches and warm-ups to lunges and squats, here are a few exercise to help you to strengthen your knees and ankles.
Ankle stretches should always be carried out before doing more vigorous exercise activities, and are also ideal for those who spend all day sat at a desk. To stretch your ankles, sit on the floor with one leg extended and slightly elevated, using your hands to support the weight of this. Rotate your foot in a clockwise direction ten times, and then do the same but counter-clockwise, before repeating with your other leg. Another great stretch is to keep both legs extended in front of you, pointing your toes forward, before flexing them back as far as they will comfortably go. This should be repeated between 10 and 15 times.
The ankle dorsiflexion exercise requires you to stand in front of a table or chair, placing your hands on to it for balance. Rock backwards on your heels, lifting your toes up off the floor, holding this position for six seconds. Slowly return back to your standing position, and then repeat this exercise ten times.
A simple but effective exercise to strengthen your knees is the ball-squeeze squat. This requires you to place a ball between your thighs, squeezing it in with your legs while slowly squatting down. Try to go as low as you can, or at least low enough so that your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle, before standing back up. This exercise should be done in three sets, with 12 reps each, for maximum benefits.
The large-step lunge is another great knee-strengthener, and will also target your hips and your buttocks, along with your thighs. Simply take a large step forward with one leg, lowering your body until your rear knee is almost touching the floor. Bring this leg forward to return to the starting position, before repeating with three sets of ten reps.
The clam is an exercise that strengthens the glutes as well as the knees, and prevents excessive weight from reaching the inner sides of the knee, making it perfect for those who are already experiencing knee pain. To do this exercise, lie on your side with your hip and knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee as high as you can, holding this position for three seconds before lowering it slowly, making sure not to allow your top hip to roll backwards. Repeat this 20 times on each side, doing it twice a day for best results. If you want to increase the difficulty of this exercise, try squeezing your heels together while doing it, as this makes your glutes work even harder.
Whether you exercise regularly or try to avoid it as much as possible, it is important for everybody to focus on keeping their joints healthy and strong. Your knees and your ankles are amongst the most vulnerable joints on your body, so do make sure that you give them the attention that they need by trying these exercises.