Knee Pain and Parenting
December 5, 2012
One of the most often-repeated statements from parents is that they want to stay healthy for their kids. Children of any age require massive amounts of energy, and the better shape their parents are in, the easier it can be to chase after them and keep up with their incredibly rigorous schedules. Parenting is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be remarkably stressful, on the mind as well as on the body!
Babies In Arms
We might not often think about it, but parenting is actually an incredibly physical activity. When children are small, we are constantly called on to pick them up and carry them around. For infants, this is especially true, as well as for toddlers who aren’t yet big enough to walk on their own for any significant distance. Many parents practice baby-wearing, which is the parenting technique of wearing their babies in a harness or sling most of the time. This both comforts the child by allowing them to be close to the parent more of the time, and also better allows the parent to both meet the baby’s needs. Having a baby in your arms is an amazing feeling, but something that parents can often forget is that it also means extra weight on the body and extra stress! DID YOU KNOW: For each pound of weight you gain, your knees experience three pounds of strain. So, carrying a ten-pound baby puts 30 pounds of stress on your knees. Carrying a little one all day can leave your joints, especially your knees, aching.
Knee Pain Tips Just For Parents
- Even when you try your best to take care of yourself, being a parent often means experiencing tired knees and feet. Here are some tips for keeping yourself feeling great when you also have your little ones in tow!
- Do you have a “bad knee,” a joint that is more sensitive than the other? Then carry your child on the opposite side to put less strain on it.
- When you kneel down to talk to your child, don’t put your weight directly on the bad knee. Instead, kneel on your healthier joint, and keep the painful knee at a 90-degree angle.
- Switch the arm you use to carry your child often, to keep from putting too much pressure on one side.
- If you’re in a lot of discomforts, ask your spouse to carry your child, or use a stroller.
- Are your kids interfering with your ability to do your SimpleTherapy® exercises? As your spouse to watch them for a few minutes or do your exercises while you have help with child care.
- If you need to see a doctor about knee pain, bring your children along to the appointment, so they understand what you are experiencing and also learn how important it is to see a doctor when you are not feeling well.
- Keeping your quadriceps muscles strong helps your knees. Make sure you work quad exercises into your regular workout!
Stay Healthy To Play Hard
For older children, parenting also involves a great deal of physical activity. Kids have a ton of energy that they need to constructively burn off every day, especially through play. Parents who want to be involved with their kids and spend time with them will often find that the best way to do this is to get active. Every parent knows that kids absolutely love it when you play with them, and that can mean everything from quietly playing with toy dinosaurs to running around the backyard pretending to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex. While most kids can run all day and feel just great about it, parents tend to have to deal with aches and pains more often. Taking care of your body and treating joint pain means that you can stay more active and play with your kids even more!
Setting a Positive Example
Staying active with your kids is about more than just having fun, too. It is also about setting a positive example for a lifetime of healthy habits. When you lead an active lifestyle, your kids learn by example. When you teach them to be active every day and participate in physical activities with them, you are showing them the importance of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Children learn many of their habits from their parents, both healthy and unhealthy. Just as the children of parents who are inactive are up to ten times more likely to be inactive themselves, so children whose parents encourage exercise will also be healthier. The habits that children learn when they are young tend to define their behavior for their whole lives, so being an active family is also giving them the gift of a healthful future!
And always remember, when your knees are painful, follow the RICE procedure: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. When you have a long day with your kids, taking the time to take care of your knees is even more important. Plus, taking the time to take care of yourself means you’ll have more energy to spend playing with your kids!
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