You love your little ones endlessly, but parenting is no walk in the park. In addition to putting a tremendous strain on your time and resources, studies have shown that parenting can take a toll on physical health because parents shift their attention elsewhere.
Unfortunately, tiny tots at home could also be harmful to your knee health. Here are two reasons parenting puts you at a higher risk for knee problems, and how you can prevent issues in the long run.
Parents Tend to Weigh More
The higher your BMI is, the more pressure you put on your joints, and the more force you need to exert to move your body. As a result, being overweight has a tremendous impact on your musculoskeletal system, which can spell trouble for your knees.
Unfortunately, parents tend to weigh more than non-parents. In fact, one study showed that parents tended to reach an average BMI of 30 by the time they are 55, which is in the obese zone, while the average BMI of non-parents lingers in the overweight zone by the same age.
So why are parents overweight? While the answer may be different for every family, parents typically receive less sleep, which can suppress satiety hormones in the body and increase appetites.
Additionally, parents may struggle to consume a healthy diet when they cater to a crowd of picky eaters, which can lead to a greater intake of high-fat, high-calorie meals that can be hard on their waistline. Parents also have less time to exercise, which doesn’t allow the muscles of the leg to support proper knee placement — which also increases injury risk.
To reduce the strain on your knees, talk with your doctor about how to lose weight. Some research has shown that every pound lost takes about four pounds of weight off of your knees. So if you drop a few pounds, you could reduce your likelihood of injury and alleviate many of the symptoms you currently live with.
When you start an exercise program, focus on using excellent form. Consider working with a personal trainer as you get exercises down, so you can prevent any movement or repetitive motion that could harm your knees.
Parents Are Constantly Chasing Young Kids
If your child has ever engaged in a dangerous activity like teetering close to the edge of a deck or moving towards a power outlet with something sharp, you know how it feels to bolt to their rescue. Unfortunately, these sudden motions can contribute to injuries, since your body might not be used to sprinting to a rescue — especially after a long day at work.
Parents constantly find themselves in strange positions, holding children who are kicking and screaming, trying to coach a kid on a bicycle, or playing soccer in a field to help their little one practice — even though they may not have kicked a ball in decades. Because new, sudden movements can be hard on the body, parents may experience knee pain.
To prevent your chances of sustaining an injury, focus on getting regular exercise and playing with your kids on a daily basis. When you work with your little ones to master their soccer kicks, work on yours too. To make it easier to sprint after your curious toddler, work on your sprinting form in the gym where conditions are favorable. As a result, you may be a more effective parent, without putting yourself at risk of injury.
While knee pain can be exceptionally difficult, seeking treatment could help you alleviate your symptoms. At our practice, the Noyes Knee Institute, doctors can help you understand your symptoms, find treatments to alleviate your pain, and prevent future problems. Contact us today.