Are there any exercises to strengthen my knees, or do I have to wait until I lose more weight?
The best thing you can do is develop strength around your knees without putting a lot of pressure on them. This means targeting your quadriceps, hamstrings and hips. Here are a couple ideas:
Straight Leg Raises – Lie on your back. Keeping your leg straight, lift it into the air. Hold for 10-20 seconds and lower it to the ground. Do the same for your other leg. You can do variations of this on your back, stomach, and both sides as well. Try two sets of 15 reps to start, and slowly progress from there.
Swiss (Physio) Ball Squats – Place physio ball between lower to mid back and wall. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Spread feet shoulder width apart and make sure toes are pointed forward. Slowly bend knees to 90 degrees, and return to standing position, making sure to keep knees bent slightly. Make sure to place feet far enough in front so when you bend to 90 degrees, your knees don't go past the plane of your toes, but only squat down until just before your knees bother you. If you can only go down 1/4 of the way, that's fine; simply hold that position for a little while to help build more strength.
You can also try some low impact aerobic exercises, such as rowing, biking, or the elliptical machine.
You can do any of these exercises on a regular basis. About 4-5x a week should be fine.
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