Harvard Health Letter

Easy exercises for healthy knees

Try these "anytime" exercises to help protect your mobility and independence.

Strong knees are crucial to daily activities like getting out of a chair or walking to the kitchen or bathroom. But thinking about taking on special exercises to strengthen your knees can seem daunting. "Older adults are often worried that doing any leg-strengthening or weight-bearing exercises will increase the 'wear and tear' on their knees and increase already present arthritis. But doing strengthening exercises around the knee joint actually helps lessen the progression of any arthritis," says Ashley Wiater, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Strengthening hip muscles helps to stabilize the knees as well.

Even a small amount of exercise throughout your day will make a difference in your knee health. "Just a few repetitions here and there will give the knee joint more stability, which decreases stress at the joint when you perform any weight-bearing activities," says Wiater. Try fitting in a few repetitions (reps) while watching TV or talking on the phone, or make it a habit to do a few reps every time you wash your hands or brush your teeth. Those reps will add up.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »