Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis that affects millions of people around the world. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and some treatments might slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.

Although it is a common misconception that exercise may worsen osteoarthritis knee pain, exercise, in fact, may help reduce pain and strengthen the muscles that support the knees. Exercise does not always need to be high-intensity to be beneficial, and especially in the case of exercises for knee OA, low-impact and low-intensity workouts are recommended.

The following are some of the recommended exercises for knee OA that will help manage symptoms and facilitate better and relatively pain-free movement of your knees. You may do 2-3 sets of most of the following exercises with ten repetitions per set.

  • Leg raises: Leg raises are done by lying flat on your back and lifting your legs several inches off the floor while keeping them straight. Do one leg at a time for maximum benefit. This exercise works the quadriceps at the front of your thighs attached to your knees.
  • Hamstring stretch:The hamstrings are long muscles present at the back of the thighs and attached to your knees. Lie down flat on your back and bring one knee close to your chest. Stretch the leg out upwards until you feel your hamstring stretch. Repeat on the other leg.
  • Calf raises: Stand flat on your feet and then slowly raise your heels and shift your weight onto your toes. Come back to the starting position and repeat. If needed, grab a chair or a wall for support or perform the exercise while sitting down on a chair.
  • Side leg raises: Stand straight and grab onto a chair for balance. Place your weight on one leg while you slowly raise the other out to your side. Hold for three seconds and bring it back to the starting position. Once done with the desired number of repetitions, shift your weight onto the other leg and repeat.
  • Half squats: An excellent exercise that will strengthen your core and thigh muscles. Stand up straight and slowly lower yourself into a half-seated position before pushing yourself back up to the starting position. Ensure that there is no joint pain while performing this exercise.
  • Step-ups: Stand in front of the stairs and hold onto a railing or wall for support. Put one leg on the step, followed by the other, and climb onto the step. Place one leg back down, followed by the other, and get back onto the floor. Repeat to strengthen your knees and improve your ability to climb stairs.
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Walking: Simple walking for up to thirty minutes a day can be one of the best exercises for knee OA to strengthen your knees and ease the pain. Walking can help improve posture, strengthen muscles and improve flexibility and is also very good for general well-being as it keeps the heart-healthy.

Other low-intensity activities: Apart from stationary exercises, low-impact activities such as swimming and cycling may also be incorporated into your workout routine as long as you get the go-ahead from your doctor and do not experience any knee discomfort during or after the workout.

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