• Eric Lau

Best Cardio Exercise For Bad Knees

When your knees are in constant pain or they just don’t function like they used to, it can affect every part of your life in many ways. Chronic knee conditions can make even the simplest activities challenging, like climbing stairs or just getting out of the car can be troublesome. With having bad knees the last thing you want to do is think about exercising and possibly triggering even more pain in the process. If you have bad knees there are appropriate cardio exercises for you.

However, it’s important to point out that if you do have an injury, seek professional advice before starting any exercises, even the ones listed below. Now let’s take a look at the top 6 cardio exercises for people with bad knees:


1. Swimming

Swimming is one of the best cardio workouts for people with bad knees, because of its low impact on your body. Swimming is also a very versatile activity and can burn calories very quickly. While swimming you’ll be able to work all major muscle groups in your 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.


Women swimming a pool

2. Elliptical

Working out on an elliptical is low impact and would be a much better option than running on a treadmill. The impact of running on a treadmill can cause inflammation and pain. Exercising with an elliptical has minimal risk of knee injury, and it will get your heart pumping. Elliptical training is a more supportive form of cardio, and even though treadmills are technically better for burning calories, an elliptical is totally worth it for people with bad knees.


3. Rowing

Rowing is another great option to burn calories while avoiding impact on your knees. You’ll be able to build your core strength while working out your arms and legs. Rowing is truly a whole body workout. There are also more challenging options by adjusting your resistance and tempo during your workout.


4. Cycling

Many people enjoy riding bikes for cardio exercise, as cycling provides a great fat-burning workout whether indoors or outside. Cycling can help improve your knee flexibility and overall strength. For an indoor option, Peloton is a very popular option right now. Peloton offers fun and challenging cycling classes from the comfort of your home. If you have sore knees here are a couple of tips when you first begin cycling. When cycling outside stay on flat terrain and avoid hills to avoid stress on your knees for now. If you have flexibility issues with your knees, raise your seat slightly since this will prevent you from bending your knees as much when pedalling. Overall, start with some of these recommendation and make adjustments as you are feeling stronger.


Women riding on Peloton stationary bike

5. Pilates

Pilates may not be the first thing to come into your mind when finding an optimal exercise with bad knees, but it’s definitely a great option! Pilates is a full body workout. Wether you are doing mat pilates or reformer pilates, there are many moves that involve your lower body. Pilates is a suitable exercise for not just improving posture, balance, and mobility, but it can also help with relieving stress and tension. When having knee problems, pilates is one of the best options for enhancing joint mobility and overall muscle tone for your lower body.


Women doing mat pilates

6. Step ups

One option for a good low-impact workout is the step bench. This type of exercise will get your heart pumping, and as long as the steps aren’t too steep, you should be fine exercising with bad knees. There are a number of step classes online to make step ups a more interactive and fun cardio exercise.


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