Knee pain is a condition that can affect your life in many ways. Chronic knee pain can make even the simplest movements or activities like climbing stairs or getting in and out of the car more challenging. Many people suffering from knee pain do not exercise due to fear of more pain and injury. Being overweight can make knee pain worse.
Exercise can help reduce knee pain. Here are 7 cardio workouts and exercises that experts recommend to improve knee pain without causing additional pain or damage to the knees –
- Walking – Walking (particularly speed walking) is a good low-impact cardio workout for knee pain. Keep a brisk pace while walking and try to wear shoes that provide good support. Also, try to stretch out before beginning the walk. Begin walking on flat surfaces and then slowly progress to hikes once you have built up your walking muscles.
- Swimming/Pool Exercises – Regarded as one of the best cardio workouts for people with bad knees, swimming can burn a lot calories quickly. Due to its low impact on the body, swimming significantly impacts all major muscle groups in the body including glutes, chest, and especially the core. One of the best strokes to start with is the freestyle, which is usually the fastest stroke as well, and is able to burn up to 100 calories every 10 minutes. Workouts can also be improved by doing water aerobics, jogging in place, and doing resistance training using water weights.
- Elliptical – A supportive form of cardio, elliptical machine exercise has minimal risk of knee injury. Working out on an elliptical machine is a low impact exercise and is a much better option than a treadmill. Since the feet remain on the pedals of the elliptical machine, they are far less likely to be injured.
- Low-Resistance Circuit Training – Low-resistance circuit training involves moving from one machine to the next with little or no time resting in between. This in turn maintains the heart rate at a good pace, burns calories and builds muscle strength. With the legs gaining strength, muscle tissue increases, resulting in reduced knee pain.
- Rowing – This is a truly whole body workout that helps to burn calories without impacting the knees. It helps build core strength by working out the arms and legs.
- Pilates– This is a full body workout that improves posture, balance and mobility and also helps with stress and tension relief. There are different types of pilates.
- Step-ups – Step-ups are a good low-impact workout that help and improve heart pumping as long as the steps are not too steep.
In addition to the above, there are plenty of other exercises that can be performed at home to build strength and flexibility without further damaging the knees. These include partial squats, lunges, calf raises and scissor kicks. Body-weight exercises such as sit-ups, pull-ups and push-up are becoming increasingly popular as they require you to depend on your own weight rather than on a machine or on weights for resistance.
Talk to your doctor before you try any of these exercises for knee pain.