"A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings." – Hippocrates
Gary Yanker in his Complete Book of Exercise Walking tells of a personal experience that taught him the value of stretching before walking. While on a long-distance walk that lasted several weeks, Yanker determined that he wanted to increase his distance from twenty-five to thirty miles per day. To save time, he decided to forsake the four basic stretching exercises that he had practiced faithfully for the previous weeks. The result? By the third stretchless day he had shin splints, the painful tightening in the lower leg when the balance between the muscles of the front and the back of the calf gets out of whack. The pain slowed him to about half his former pace, so the distance he was able to cover was cut in half rather than being increased. "Believe me," he wrote, "it′s a helluva way to learn a lesson about the importance of warming up and cooling down for sessions of exercising, whether walking, running, or whatever."
The security system you buy for your home or car, the safety precautions you teach your children when they are small, the diet changes you make to keep your cholesterol down, all are efforts to preserve what you have and prevent a loss. Certainly some losses can never be recovered, and of those things that can be replaced, the process is rife with hassles, disappointment, grief, and pain. The same may be said of the loss of use or physical ability owed to injury. Ask anyone injured on a playing field who has had to have surgery.
Never simple, never easy, prevention is recognizing and anticipating a potential threat and acting ahead of time to stop or dampen its effect. In terms of your body and your knees, the engine of prevention is conditioning. Conditioning knees so that they can handle the stress put
on them is the only way to prevent knee problems or limit their scope. It requires remaining aware not only of the knees but also of the whole body. The body sends out a warning signal (like the flashing light on your dash) that it is being overtaxed when you have run too many miles, hiked too many trails, or practiced too many jump shots. The ability to appreciate this signal comes from performing what might be called a "body check."
This is a section from Dr. Jack E, Jensen’s book The One Stop Knee Shop. Read the next section Body Check: Getting in Touch with Your Body.