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    Help! My Knees Hurt When I Stand Up

    BT 5.5. 1-32_Page_18_Image_0001One of the best small step exercises is a Get Up. That’s simply getting up from your chair a few times in a row. But if your knees hurt when you stand up, then we have to solve that first. Even if you don’t want to do Get Ups, it would be good to solve this problem.

    I have been the leading expert in plus size fitness for more than 25 years. As I helped hundreds of large women get active, I started to notice some patterns. I discovered that most of my clients dealing with health and weight have knee pain. I studied what worked best to get their bodies stronger, and also what helped to alleviate the knee pain that was stopping them from enjoying life. From this research I developed a system of exercises and tools that transforms knee pain and helps people get their lives back on track.

    One of the things I hear a lot is “my knees hurt when I stand up.” This problem is easily solved with a little awareness and some directed fidgeting! First of all, most of us sit for way too long without taking a break. Here’s where the awareness comes in: interrupt yourself, and stand up more often. Set an alarm, or create a buddy system where you support each other to get up and move around during your workday. Even just standing for a moment is a huge benefit. A word of caution: if you set an alarm and then ignore it, it will not work.

    Here are two specific fidgeting exercises that you can do that will help your knees not hurt when you stand. These exercises also help to strengthen your legs in a way that can sometimes heal your knee pain too! These exercises are done in your chair before you stand up. The starting position is sitting with your ankles under your knees so that your legs make a 90-degree angle. You should also maintain good upper body posture.

    The Butt Squeeze: This is just what it sounds like! Squeeze your butt cheeks together and then release. Try it now 10 times. This exercise will wake up those muscles so that when you stand up, they will help. Your butt muscles are a primary mover in the get up action. The Butt Squeeze will not only make getting up easier in the moment, but you will also be strengthening that muscle along the way, which is a bonus! There is a version of this exercise that also includes core strengthening; it’s called The Tush Tilt. You can find a video tutorial on YouTube if you’d like to try it.

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    The Heel Tap: Make sure you have the 90-degree angle starting position. Straighten your right leg while tapping your heel on the floor when your leg is outstretched. Bring your leg back to 90, and then do the left. Repeat for 5 on each side. This exercise gets the knee joint moving in a friendly and useful way. When the joint moves in this manner, the body responds by lubricating with synovial fluid. Motion is lotion! There is a version of this exercise on YouTube also. Search for Heel Tap with Tiny Tilt.

    Before you stand up, do 10 Butt Squeezes and 5 Heel Taps. These exercises will wake up your legs, so your muscles and joints will be ready to get up. Remember, these small step exercises will also be strengthening your leg muscles! If you’d like some more nifty knee tips, go to my website at

    As always, if you need help, email me and we’ll figure it out:

    Cinder Ernst, Medical Exercise Specialist and Life Coach Extraordinaire, helps reluctant exercisers get moving with safe, effective and fun programs. Find out more at