When you are ready to workout, it is tempting to just get right to it and save time. But you should not neglect your warm-up. Warming up your body prepares it for exercise by increasing blood flow to your muscles and increasing your body temperature. Proper warm-up can help prevent injury and reduce muscle stiffness after your workout. Warm up the knee joint with cardio and dynamic stretches.
Flex and Extend
Your knee joint is one of the most complex in the body, according to the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. There are four bones that make up the knee joint -- the femur, patella, fibula and tibia. There are also numerous ligaments and muscles that provide stability and help move the knee by flexing and extending it. Many people don't think about their knees until something is wrong with them. Work on preventing problems with exercise that includes a good warm-up.
Break a Sweat
Start warming up your knees with five to 10 minutes of light intensity cardio. Some examples include walking, jogging, cycling, stair climbing or even using the elliptical trainer. Start at an easy pace for one to two minutes. Gradually increase your intensity so that your heart rate is up and you break a sweat. A warm-up should not be really challenging. It's purpose is to get your knees, and the rest of your body, ready for a tough workout. Warm-ups help increase efficient muscle movement, lubricate the joints, improve oxygen use by the muscles and prepares the cardiovascular system for more vigorous activity.
Lunge It Out
Dynamic stretches take your joints through a full range of motion and prepare them for activity. Do these after a short cardio warm-up and then start with a small range of motion and gradually increase to full range. Do five to 10 reps on each leg. Start with some body weight squats. Move on to some walking lunges, forward and then backward. Next, balance on one leg and lift the other knee. Bend and straighten your leg like you are doing a leg extension. Do both sides. Finish up with some leg swings forward and back to stretch the quads and hamstrings.
Know When To Hold 'Em
Some people still like to do static stretches as part of their warm-up. There is no proof that holding a stretch will prevent injury, but it can improve the range of motion, or flexibility, of your knee joint. However, save the static stretching for the end of your workout to protect your knees, unless otherwise instructed by a coach or doctor. You can do a standing quadriceps stretch by bringing one foot up to your butt and holding it there with your hand for 15 to 30 seconds. Do a simple hamstring stretch by reaching down towards your toes with your knees straight, but not locked, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.