"Extra" Lifechangers orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sonu Ahluwalia is on call to teach us how to protect the joints when exercising.
Starting with your knees, Dr. Ahluwalia says to keep them apart when doing squats or jumps. "Women have a wider pelvis. That's why their knees tend to go inward, when they jump or do squats, and this puts a lot of stress on the ligament in the knee which can cause the tear. Try to keep your knees apart instead so when you jump, you want to keep your ankle below the knee and below the hip," he suggests.
When doing lunges, take bigger steps. "You're going to want to take a larger step," Dr. Ahluwalia explains, "Not going down as far, so when you look down, you should see your knee on the outside of your foot."
And for lifting weights, start out slow and steady. "Instead of bringing those arms back behind you a little bit, try to keep your thumbs in your peripheral vision, thumbs up, arms forward and try not to force, go nice and slow up, slow down."
The orthopedic surgeon also gives some hints as to why your joints creak and pop when you work out. "Everybody's knees creek and pop, it's not unusual. Sometimes when you put your knee in certain positions, there's enough pressure inside the knee, the fluid that some of the gasses pop out of it and that's the popping that you hear just like when you pop your knuckles. Or sometimes it's just some tendon that's running over a certain part of the knee, which may be completely normal. Most of the time, it may be a little softening of the cartilage that doesn't really mean anything. If you start to have pain, that's when you worry."