So, from previous years of modern dancing (as my husbands says, falling down and getting back up) I have some really bad knees which have kept me from being a full blown out runner...until now. I found some really good advice online that has actually been helping! I'm not certified ...yet..lol these are just some suggestions that I have found to help me !
1. Always stretch before working out. I honestly never did too much stretching before hand because it can actually be worse for your body to do too much stretching while you're cold.. SO.. make sure to do about 5-10 minutes of static (standing still ) stretching...hamstrings, quads...arms..nothing too streneous.
2. Part of my warm up routine focuses on the muscles right around the knee joints (quads).
1. Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you and just squeeze the muscles on top of your legs (quads) and loosen them up to 10-15 times. This strengthens these muscles without a lot of wear and tear.
2. Lay on your back and do individual leg lifts, slowly. This also tightens your quads up and can also be beneficial to your hamstrings on the eccentric phase (coming down)
3. After exercising make sure you stretch afterwords (your body will thank you tomorrow when you try to get out of bed lol) This is the time where you could really get some beneficial flexibility stretching in. Do anything that flex's and contracts your leg muscles, hamstring stretches as well.
4. To prevent pain and inflammation I also use a cold pack (ice in a towel, works just fine). This really helps prevent pain later that evening as well as helps your muscles cool down. Remember, 20 minutes on...20 minutes off..
5. OPTIONAL : if you're feeling pain during your exercise, it always helps to A. have a knee brace on hand (if you feel that it helps you, honestly I can't seem to find one that doesn't get in the way not allowing my knee to bend, and the athletic ones are just too tight even with different sizes) B. Stop your activity and either modify the amount of weight/range of motion. or C. (usually helps with me) now that you're warmed a little bit more, take some extra time to stretch it, and then slowly resume your activity. If the pain still persists I would suggest asking yourself, is this true joint pain or is perhaps muscle building pain?
If true pain I would suggest going to either a different machine, doing a different exercise, or giving your knee a break and working on your torso, arms, or shoulders, give your knees a break.
I hope this helps!