Best Exercises for Bad Knees

Stiff or painful joints caused by aging, sickness, or old injuries can sometimes be an impediment to getting in a good workout (and also an extremely convenient excuse!)– working out doesn’t do you much good if you keep injuring yourself! But there are still great ways to exercise, even if your knees aren’t brand new.  Keep reading below to find a new exercise for you!

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For Cardio:

Consider Speedwalking, which can be done at a local park or around your block!  Skip the gym membership, load up your phone with high-tempo music, and speedwalk in comfortable athletic trainers to get in a good cardio workout.  If you’re still looking for great cardio options that are easy on the knees, you should give swimming a shot.  You’ll be using your whole body, but your upper body will be doing most of the work.  It’s great cardio without putting any stress on your knees!

If you’re keen on working out in the gym, opt for low-impact workouts.  If your gym offers classes, try taking one!  Talk with the teacher or trainer beforehand to make sure you won’t be doing anything to put extra strain on your knees.  If classes aren’t your style, try out the machines!  Opt for the elliptical instead of the treadmill– you’ll still burn calories and get your heart rate up, but you won’t be pounding your feet into the tread like on the treadmill! You might want to try the stationery bicycles, too!  If pedaling is a good fit for you, try opting for the traditional bikes instead of the chairs with pedals, as the traditional stationery bike will engage more muscles!

The rowing machine is another great option for cardio at the gym– you’re knees will be bending and straightening, and you’ll be pushing with your feet a bit, but you won’t have to worry about straining them!  This also works out to be a great arm workout, so it’s 2-in-1!


For Resistance Training:

While you’ll need to avoid heavy squatting and lifting, there are still ways to build up your muscle mass even if your knees are bad!  This is especially helpful if you’re trying to lost weight, because we know that your body burns more calories each day when it has to maintain lean muscle!

Try using the weight machines in your gym that allow you to isolate specific muscles.  These help you to protect your knees (and often your back as well!) while still working out all the  muscles you want to grow!  Free weights should be limited to weights you can carry easily in your hand, unless you’re working with a certified personal trainer.


Exercises to Avoid:

Power washes, deep squats or lunges, hurdler’s stretches, and any heavy free weight lifting maneuvers unless you’re properly spotted by a professional.


It can be a tough problem to work around, but there are plenty solutions for staying healthy and fit, losing weight, and maintaining or growing your muscles mass if you have bad knees!  What’s your favorite exercise that keeps the pressure off your knees?


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