There are a thousand reasons to begin practicing personal massage for your muscle health. Still, some parts of the body tend to receive more benefit from the practice of massage and regular stretching than others. As a part of the human anatomy that takes a great deal of impact on a day-to-day basis, the knee is one of the most important areas to stretch and keep loose. This is particularly true if you’re an athlete who engages in practices such as running, cutting, jumping or lifting on a day to day basis. If you’re hoping to strengthen or maintain your knees, take a look at these best stretches for knee health.
The basic calf stretch
Health recommends this basic calf stretch as a way to keep your knees at the top of their game with minimal effort. To engage in this stretch, all you need to do is place one foot behind the other and stand at arm’s length away for a wall that you can lean on. Leaving both feet on the floor, slowly bend your front knee forward and keep your back knee straight. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, or until you begin to feel the stretch in the back of your straight leg, and then switch and begin again in the opposite position.
The towel roll
As the name suggests, successful completion of this stretch will require the athlete engaging in it to use a rolled-up towel. Sit down on the floor with your back at a 90 degree angle and your hands behind you, supporting your weight. Keep one knee bent and pulled up close to your chest and the other leg straightened out in front of you. Place the rolled towel underneath your straightened leg, so that the back of the knee rests on it. At this point, you’ll want to push that knee downward, so that the towel absorbs pressure. Simultaneously, you’ll need to tighten your quadriceps muscle. Do several sets of this until you begin to feel the burn in the back of your knee. Ideally, you should be able to complete four or five 30 second sets on each leg, alternating back and forth between your right and left knee.
According to Prevention, partial squats are a great exercise for those who are already experiencing considerable knee pain. In order to begin, set a chair in the middle of a room and stand roughly a foot away from it. Position your feet so that they are evenly parallel, roughly hip width apart. Keeping your core tight, perform repetitions of lowering yourself by bending your knees until you are directly in front of the chair. As a note, don’t ever bend so far so that your knees extend further than your toes, as this can place considerable strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments within the knees, which may even exacerbate your pain.