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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Knees are knee-cessary

A woman on a run holds her knee. Prioritizing knee health is crucial for future mobility. (Getty Images)

Which would you prefer: A lifetime of vitality and mobility or a lifetime of pain and physical therapy? 

Your knees are of the utmost importance when it comes to your body’s mobility. Taking care of your knees now will prevent them from deteriorating in the future.

We use our knees every day in almost every activity.

“Walking, jogging, climbing and descending stairs, climbing and descending inclines, and getting up from the floor, getting out of bed and up from the chair,” said Sarah Greenhagen, one of the two directors of NIU’s Physical Therapy program.

You’re constantly moving throughout the day. Your knees may seem fine, but they could be in need of some intentional care.  

“They are crucial for most of the things we want to do throughout the day just from a mobility standpoint,” Greenhagen said. 

We place a lot of demand on our knees, so it is important that we are mindful of the pressure we put on our knees and make sure we are not overusing them or not exercising them properly. 

The healthier your knees are, the more you’re able to do, now and down the line. 

Here are some techniques that should be added into your daily routine to maintain healthy knees. 


Explosive exercises are good for strengthening knees and maintaining mobility.


Burpees are an exercise that consists of jumping up with both hands in the air, landing on the ground, moving into a pushup, then shooting back up again. 

Do this exercise about eight to 10 times in a row and increase your reps as your endurance grows. 

Now, doing several burpees can feel tiring, but it will be worth it once you finish. Burpees help build strength and endurance while burning calories and boosting your cardio fitness. 


Grab a box or a sturdy elevated surface that you can jump on without falling and hurting yourself. 

Don’t do anything too high, start low and work your way up when you become more confident in your performance. 

Stand in front of the box, brace your body and do a smooth jump on top of it with both feet landing at the same time. Do about 10 to 12 reps. 

This exercise enhances athletic performance, strengthens the lower body and increases how high you can jump. 


This exercise works the muscles of your lower body (abdominals, glutes, hamstrings and lower back), along with your core.

This is a dynamic power move workout. It should only be performed after a thorough warm-up.

Get into a squat position and use all the muscles in your legs to lift your body off the ground while extending your legs. 

When your legs are fully stretched, your feet should be at least a couple inches off the ground. 

Drop into the squat once again for an explosive jump and control your landing by moving through your foot (toes, ball, arches, heel). Repeat eight to 10 times. 



Sit in a chair and place your foot over your knee while your other foot stays flat on the ground. Maintain a straight back while bending forward from the hips. 

There should be a stretch along the hip’s back. After maintaining this pose for 20 to 30 seconds, repeat three times.

This stretch relieves and prevents stiffness and discomfort in your hips, lower back and legs.

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