The Best Cardio Exercises For Bad Knees
When we think about doing cardio, most of us assume that it will involve walking, jumping, or running options that may be hard for someone with bad knees. Thankfully, there are some great cardio exercise options for people with bad knees. Some great workouts include:
1. Swimming. Swimming reduces symptoms of depression and cust the risk of chronic diseases, but it is also effective in reducing knee joint stiffness, strengthening muscles around the knee, strengthening your bones, and improving your overall fitness .
2. Rowing. Injuries such as the autologous chondrocyte implantation or ACI can be effectively rehabilitated by rowing . Not only does rowing strengthen the knees, but it also works out the quads and hamstrings. However, since this workout relies heavily on knee movement, you should first speak to your doctor and see if this is a good option for you.
3. Elliptical workouts. These are considered low-impact aerobic exercises, and they are a good alternative to running or jogging for someone who has joint pain due to arthritis. When compared to using a treadmill, using an elliptical machine can be less stressful on your knees, hips, and back .
What Causes Knee Pain
As mentioned, this will be focused on general knee pain of the patella tendon. As a quick primer, tendons attach muscle to bone. The patella tendon attaches the rectus femoris muscle to the top of the shin bone.
This pain above, below, or behind the knee cap is the patella tendon. Tendons can get this way when they become too stiff. Essentially, the collagen fibers form crosslinks instead of being in a nice straight line.
Pain can also come from a short and tight rectus femoris muscle. Those that sit often may have this problem since the rectus femoris crosses both the hips and the knee. When the muscle cannot stretch through the full range of motion, the tendon starts to stretch too which is not nice on a stiff tendon.
We will go over specific exercises and protocols later in this article that can be used to produce new collagen fibers in the tendon and break down these crosslinks so we can get a healthy, pain-free tendon.
If you would like to learn more on this topic, check out the video below showcasing leading tendon researcher Dr. Keith Barr.
Exercise Modifications For Bad Knees
Most leg joint pain actually stems from a lack of strength in your legs. Hows that for ironic? Yes, strengthening the muscles around your knee joint is one of the best ways to protect you from knee pain. There are all kinds of ways you can work your legs by either modifying traditional leg moves and choosing moves that are effective but more gentle on your knees.
Follow along with this video as we show you the five great exercise modifications for bad knees, including glute bridges, squat alternatives for bad knees, and more.
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Workout #: Upper Body Focus
Always start with a 10 to 15 minute warm up. Do each exercise for 20 seconds and dont rest until you complete the round. After each round rest for 45 seconds maximum and start again. Complete four to seven rounds!
-Medicine Ball Slam: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Raise the med ball above your head and forcibly slam it to the floor directly in front of your feet by spiking your hips back and chopping down with your upper body. Catch the ball on the rebound and raise it up again!
-Push ups: Lie face down with your hands spread just outside of your shoulders at chest level. Lock out your knees, squeeze your glutes and push your entire body off the floor until your elbows are locked out and stable. If this is too much right now, drop down to your knees and push from there.
-Renegade Rows: Face the floor and come up on just your hands and feet. One hand should have a weight. Once ready, pull that weight up by bending your elbow and pulling your shoulder blade back towards the spine. The weight should just barely touch your rib cage. Place it down and then repeat.
-Russian Twists: Sit on the floor and lean back until your abs start activating. Maintain that pose and keep your heels on the floor. Now, press your hands together as in prayer then rotate to one side until you feel resistance in your abs. Switch directions and repeat.
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The Straight Leg Raise
Dr of Physical Therapy Nick Salinas, who owns Functional Movement Therapy PLLC said, typically, the inside of the knee joint breaks down most often.
So, how can we try and fix this?
Nick Salinas said, In my professional opinion, one of the best and most commonly incorrectly performed exercises for the quadriceps is the straight leg raise.
In this exercise, the athlete engages the inner thigh quad muscle , engages the deep core muscle , and lifts the leg against gravity to approximately 30-40 degrees.
The most challenging aspect of this exercise is not using everything else.
Be sure not to flex the toes back towards the nose, do not push down with the opposite leg, do not allow the pelvis to tip or rotate, and do not hold your breath as you engage the muscle and lift the leg up.
Heres a video of it being demonstrated:
This truly is one of the best quad exercises for bad knees.
Just make sure youre doing it right, as Dr.Salinas said earlier, its performed incorrectly often- and this can lead to more bad than good.
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Take It To The Next Level
If completing the standard hip hinge is easy for you , try doing it on one leg.
The last few degrees needed for full leg extension come from a muscle in the quads called the vastus medialis. This exercise will help strengthen your quads.
Equipment needed: 1- to 3-pound ankle weight
Muscles worked: quadriceps
To ensure that you have the right form and are using the correct muscles for this exercise, youll need to start by facing an open wall or door.
Equipment needed: standard table chair
Muscles worked: all the muscles in the lower body
Prone Straight Leg Raises
Lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Tighten the muscles in your bottom and the hamstring of one leg, and lift toward the ceiling. Hold 3-5 seconds, lower, and repeat. Do 10-15 lifts and switch sides. You can add ankle weights as you gain strength. You shouldnt feel back pain. If you do, limit how high you lift up. If it still hurts, stop and talk to your doctor.
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How Can I Lose Weight With Bad Knees
Losing weight can be a challenge for anybody, and if you have bad knees, you may feel like you cant do the exercises that lead to weight loss. However, there are plenty of weight-loss exercises that dont require high impact on the knees. The exercises mentioned in this articleyoga, Pilates, exercise biking, weight training, and water aerobicsare all great ways to lose weight. Walking is another alternative to running that many people forget to consider. Walking is easy on the joints and is a great source of cardio exercise. A weight loss plan should include exercises that burn fat and gain muscle. A combination of cardio and strength exercises, along with a healthy diet, will help you lose weight.
How To Build Leg Muscle With Bad Knees: Top 7 Exercises
The muscles in your lower body should be some of the strongest ones you have since they’re tasked with supporting your entire frame every day. However, if you have one or two damaged knee joints, or general knee pain that you don’t want to exacerbate, how are you supposed to perform leg exercises to gain better strength? Never fear: it can be done, and we have the details on how to build leg muscle with bad knees right here.
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Quad Exercises To Fix Knee Pain
Tendons love load. In fact, the worst thing you can do when you suffer from knee tendon pain is to rest and do nothing. The tendon remains in the same painful state. You need load to remodel the tendon.
Based on Dr. Keith Barrs research, to enhance the healing process of your tendon during these exercises, take 15 g of collagen before exercise. This is the best quality collagen you can get by Paleo Pro which has collagen from beef, marine, chicken, and eggshell.
Which Is The Best Knee Strengthening Exercise For Seniors
4 Best Knee Strengthening Exercises For Seniors. 1 Mobility And Strength. Not only is it important to have strength in these muscles but its also important that the strength between the muscle groups 2 Exercise 1: Leg Extension. 3 Exercise 2: Leg Curls. 4 Exercise 3: Assisted Squat. 5 Exercise 4: Romanian Deadlift.
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Exercises To Help Improve Bad Knees And What To Avoid
Many people with knee pain or knee problems have difficulty working out and finding ways to get physical activity. Sometimes it is hard to find workouts that dont cause pain and that are sustainable. Many people think that just because they have knee pain that they cant workout or that they shouldnt workout but that is not true. It is important for all people to get physical activity and the health benefits of working out are important for many health conditions.
So, what can you do to help improve bad knees ?
First of all, whether you have knee problems or not, all of us should be mindful during any workout that knees stay in line with toes, not wavering in or out of alignment during an exercise. This includes when doing step exercises and when performing squats. The worst exercises for knee joints for people with bad knees include full-arc knee extension including using the machine at the gym, full-deep lunges, deep squats, and Hurdlers stretches, because these exercises place excessive strain on the knee joints and can increase pain and cause injury. These exercises are especially harmful when not performed properly, which can also increase risk of injury.
Calf Raises can be performed near a wall or a chair for balance. You will stand with your feet about hip width apart and toes straight ahead. You will slowly lift your heels off of the floor, rising up on your toes, hold for 1-2 seconds and then slowly lower back down.
Around The World With An Exercise Ball
Continue using the exercise ball for this “around the world” exercise.
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Basic Care Routines For Bad Knees
Here are some low impact workouts that you can do in your living room to keep yourself active without hurting your knees. Its important to take care of your knees, which you can do by stretching properlyas demonstrated in the first videoas well as icing them when necessary. One of the best remedies for ailing joints and muscles is proper rest. In your home workout plan, be sure to include an appropriate amount of rest days so that your knees can recover from any strain.
1. These warm-up exercises are easy to follow and will relieve knee pain.
2. Yoga is an easy way to lose weight, and its steady positions enable flexibility and body alignment.
3. Wall exercises such as wall sits, wall planks, and wall push-ups are low-impact exercises that help you lose weight. Try to do three to five sets when you start.
Is Weight Loss Possible With Bad Knees
It is a common misconception that bad knees put a damper on weight loss. That couldnt be further from the truth. If youre wondering how to exercise with bad knees to lose weight, its actually quite simple. There are a ton of alternate cardio for bad knees options.
Running, jumping and cycling are not the only alternatives. Any of the cardio exercises we mentioned above are great ways to work up a sweat and burn calories. As a matter of fact, swimming burns more calories than running or cycling with zero pressure on the knees. Just like with any form of weight loss, diet is important as well. Always make sure to combine healthy eating habits with cardio exercises for the best results.
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Best Exercises For Knee Pain
The quadriceps are the main muscles that support the knees. Weak quads can lead to knee instability, which increases wear and tear. So strong quads play an important role in knee function and pain rehabilitation. A 2019 study showed that weak quadriceps are universal in people with knee osteoarthritis and may be a modifiable risk factor.
Hamstrings are another important muscle group supporting the knee and should be emphasized. Each person’s pain level, fitness level, and underlying medical condition are different, so there is no one-size-fits-all list of best exercises for knee pain.
Low-impact exercises that help stretch and strengthen the knee and supporting muscles are generally best for people with knee pain.
Exercises to consider include
Yoga and Pilates have been shown to be beneficial in increasing overall knee strength without overextending the joints.
Finally, you should start exercising slowly and gradually build up to increasing weight, duration, or reps.
Don’t ignore pain. Pain is a sign you should stop the exercise you’re doing. And don’t overdo it. Overdoing exercise can cause a setback to recovery.
What Else Might I Do
During your sessions, your therapist may also use:
Heat and ice packs. Ice calms inflammation. Heat warms up your muscles so they move better. Both can help with pain.
Massage. Keep in mind that a massage on areas that are injured, sore, or hurt may not feel relaxing. But your therapist will take great care to make sure itâs safe and helpful for you. If you get one by someone other than them, tell that professional about your pain before your session starts.
TENS and ultrasound. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, uses a device to send a low-voltage electric current to the skin over the area where you have pain. Ultrasound sends sound waves to the areas that hurt. Both may offer relief by blocking the pain messages that go to your brain.
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Working Out At Home: What Should I Know
Getting fit at home allows you to exercise in the comfort of your own space, at your own time. Whether you have a dedicated home gym, or plan to exercise in your backyard, there are various ways that you can get fit at home and still protect your knees. More importantly, you dont need too much equipment at home to get fit. In this article, you will learn about various tips and techniques that you can follow to help get you started with your at-home workouts.
Keep these three factors in mind.
To Help Your Knees Strengthen Your Hips
In many cases where a person has painful knees, one of the root causes is weak hips. The hips support the knees and, if theyre weak from sitting too much and not exercising, your knees will suffer due to this lack of support. Strengthening your hips will thus help your knees quite a bit. These next few exercises will help you to get stronger hips and lower your knee pain considerably in most cases. NOTE: Some of these exercises would be better on an exercise mat or a floor with padding or a rug.
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Lying Hamstring Stretch With Resistance Band
- Lie flat on either the ground or a mat with the legs fully stretched out.
- Place the strap across the ball of the right foot and hold the strap in both hands.
- Keep the left leg extended on the ground with the foot flexed, pushing the thigh and calf toward the floor.
- Slowly extend the right leg with the foot flexed. The right leg should be straight with a slight bend in the knee, and the bottom of the foot should face the ceiling.
- Gently pull the strap until there is a slight tension in the hamstrings.
- Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat two to four times before switching to the left leg
If you do not have a resistance band, you can still do this stretch without it . Here is how:
- Lie flat on either the ground or a mat with the legs fully stretched out.
- To stretch the right leg, hold the back of the right knee with both hands, pull the leg up toward the chest, and slowly straighten the knee until it feels as though it is stretching.
- Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Lower the leg and switch sides to the left leg.
- Hold onto a counter-top, wall, or chair back for balance.
- Bend your knee back by grasping your ankle with one hand.
- Pull the ankle gently toward your glutes as far as you can comfortably.
- Maintain this position for 30 seconds before returning to standing position.
- Repeat this 3 to 5 times with each leg.