Save those knees!

Our knees age as we age, so taking precautions may help them age a bit slower.

They are the biggest joint in the human body, consisting of three compartments. Any of these compartments are susceptible to wear and tear which may be painful.

At a certain point in our lives, joint damage will happen. However, according to an article by Stacey colino, published by AARP in September, steps can be followed to help with the protection of aging joints. These may include:

— Maintaining your weight: Excess weight can put extra pressure on the knees. One extra pound is equivalent to four times that pressure on your knees;

— Moving around: Movement maintains joint function, strength, and motion in our knees. Running is a great way to keep moving, but only every other day. Other activities include: low-impact bike riding, Pilates, swimming or using an elliptical;

— Developing strong muscles that support our knees: Our thigh muscles have a big influence on knee support so keeping these muscles strong can have a beneficial impact on your knees. These muscles can be strengthened by doing squats and lunges: For people aged 50 or older, do not squat below a 90-degree angle. Some exercise machines that can be used for the same effect include: leg press, hamstring curl, knee-extension and abductor machines;

— Focusing on your posture: To achieve good posture: First, stand up tall, then make sure your head lines up with your shoulders and your shoulders are over your hips. Next, your hips should line up with your knees. And lastly, align your knees up with your feet. This type of posture can relieve pressure off the knees;

— Owning a pair of shoes that are right for you: The shoes you wear should be comfortable and supportive so that alignment in your lower joints is not compromised but improved. A medical professional can recommend what type of shoe is best for you and your needs.; and

— Reacting to your knee pain: If you feel any pain or swelling while doing moderate exercises, take a break! The RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, elevation), is a great way to recover quickly, along with taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.

Following these steps may help reduce any pain and may postpone the time when your knees begin to degenerate.

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit or call us at 518-456-2898.

Editor’s note: Mary Alsunna, a University at Albany student, is currently volunteering with Community Caregivers. She will be writing columns on topics of interest for seniors during fall 2019 semester.