How To Work Out With Bad Knees
First and foremost, dont skip your warm-up. Failing to get your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and your muscles and nervous system primed for action before working out is a bit like asking impatiently to become injured.
Indeed, the result is similar to repeatedly driving your car in the dead of winter without warming the engine first sooner or later, the stress on the system will cause a vital part to fail. In the human body, that failure usually occurs at a joint.
Also, make proper form a priority. If a weight is too heavy to allow you to execute an exercise with perfect technique, grab a lighter one.
If you lack the mobility to execute an exercise through a complete range of motion, modify it until you build that mobility.
Many people push their knees too far forward when they squat, increasing the strain on their knees. If that sounds like you, do the box squat instead.
As its name implies, it requires you to sit back onto a box or bench as you squat. In doing so, it conditions you to master the hip hinge movement required to execute the traditional squat perfectly.
Sometimes, however, an exercise can cause knee pain even if you perform it flawlessly. And you should avoid those exercises entirely.
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. Swimmingreduces 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 .
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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How To Help Sore Knees
Finding relief from knee pain often depends on the underlying cause. Carrying excess weight can impact your knees, with the Cleveland Clinic stating that every extra pound of weight adds 2-4 lbs of excess pressure on your knees. A 2013 study found that adults who were overweight and had knee osteoarthritis experienced a reduction in knee pain after 18 months of a diet and exercise program. Your doctor may recommend a combination of diet and exercise to help you lose weight and strengthen the muscles in your lower body.
But if wear and tear is the cause of your issue, your doctor may suggest RICE – which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation – and physical therapy. A physical therapist can help you develop a program that includes stretches, range of motion exercises, and muscle strengthening movements.
Move : Supine Heel Slide
This is another one that helps strengthen those hammies and promotes blood flow in the knees.
- Avoid sliding your feet too far backward, which will place unnecessary strain on the knees, she says.
- Shorten the range of motion and stop when you start to feel pressure.
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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.
Elliptical Machine And Bicycle
While at the gym, youll want to avoid running on the treadmill. However, you can burn calories just as well on an elliptical machine. Since your feet remain on the pedals, youre far less likely to injure yourself.
While youre at the gym, try a traditional stationary bike. This type of bike can help burn calories and increase endurance and are preferable because they engage more muscles and burn calories faster. Of course, a good old-fashioned outdoor bike ride is great too!
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Best Cardio Exercise For Bad Knees
When your knees are in constant pain or they just dont 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, its important to point out that if you do have an injury, seek professional advice before starting any exercises, even the ones listed below. Now lets take a look at the top 6 cardio exercises for people with bad knees:
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 youll 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.
6. Step ups
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.
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Create A Safe Environment
Before you begin your knee exercises, look for any potential tripping hazards. If you’re using props or workout equipment, inspect the items for any wear and tear that may compromise your safety. During your first few workouts, it may be a good idea to have a caregiver or friend stay close in case you lose your balance.
Dressing appropriately is also essential for workout safety. Wear loose-fitting or stretchy clothes that allow you to move easily. For your feet, choose sneakers with solid tread. Examine the soles of your shoes regularly and replace them when you notice wear.
Move 1: Standing Hip Adduction With Resistance Band
This move complements the previous one, this time strengthening your hip adductor muscles, or the glute muscles on the outside of the hip.
- You can also use a mini band to do this move. Simply loop it around both ankles.
- Hold onto a bar or countertop for support, and lift the leg out to the side, using the stationary leg as your anchor.
- If the band puts some side-to-side stress on your knee, try looping the band higher up your leg.
- Ditch the resistance band and do the movement without any added resistance.
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Isabelle Hache Personal Trainer At Life Time Bergen County New Jersey
One of the first things I would say to someone with bad knees or knee pain will be to simply get moving in order to alleviate pain in the knee joints, says Hache. Exercises such as walking, water aerobics, cycling, swimming, yoga and strength training all help improve the symptoms associated with arthritic knee pain and knee pain related to one individual would call bad knees. Method and approach uses are adapted to each individual needs after a full assessment by a professional.
If your knees are not at its best, Hache recommends simply starting with strengthening the muscles around the knees such as your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves can go a long way.
Hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times and try to hold the sit position a few seconds longer each time.
Keeping your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, stand with your back against a wall and move your feet two or three feet from the wall. Bend your knees and slowly lower yourself keeping your back and pelvis against the wall. Dont bend too deeply. If you feel pressure or discomfort in your knees, change your position to a much bearable bend.
This leg exercise strengthens weak muscles while doing an excellent job of helping to increase flexibility. It also activates your core, which helps to support and stabilize your upper body. Great exercise to make your core and legs stronger. It will help you perform daily tasks, such as standing up and sitting down.
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.
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Sit To Stand With Resistance Bands
Dr.Eni Kadar, a doctor of Physical Therapy said, When I see patients with bad knees, there are two quad-specific exercises I like to start with.
Of course, everybody is different and every knee is different. Some people may need more hip strength or more muscle stretching, but as a starting point, these two exercises are my go-tos: Standing Knee Extensions and Sit to Stands
Dr.Kadar recommends the Standing Knee Extension as one of the best quad exercises for bad knees, but we covered that earlier.
Her second recommendation is the Sit to stand with Resistance Bands exercise. Heres what she said:
SETUP Begin sitting at the edge of a chair with your knees hip-width apart and your feet parallel with your hands out in front of you. The resistance band should be slightly above your knees.
EXECUTION Push through your heels to stand up then slowly lower down to sit again.
REASON A squatting pattern with control the chair helps control your descent. If you want to make it less challenging, you can stack some pillows or cushions on the chair to make the surface higher. Squatting is very functional and this is a great way to do it with less pressure through your knees.
Heres a video of it in action:
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.
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Move : Bridge With Ball
“Adding the ball to the glute bridges recruits your hip adductors and your hip extensors , mainly your gluteal muscles,” she says. Stabilizing and strengthening these areas helps to protect your knees.
- Avoid hyperextending your spine in the bridge position. Instead, only lift your glutes until your low back is flat, stopping before it arches.
- Skip the bridge motion and do ball squeezes isometrically instead.
- You can also use a pillow if you don’t have a ball.
Exercises For Overweight People With Knee Pain
1. Tai Chi. This is a low-impact workout that is gentle on the joints. Its fluid, meditative motions increase strength, balance, and flexibility . Doing Tai Chi for just 30 minutes can burn up to 178 calories. If you are overweight and also have knee osteoarthritis, this workout can help by reducing knee pain and improving mobility.
2. Yoga. Yoga is perfect for stretching exercises. It also makes you more in tune with your body, improving your self-image and sense of well-being, which reduces stress and stress eating. Since weight gain and loss revolve around food intake, eating less can boost your weight loss.
3. Elliptical machine.As mentioned above, the elliptical is a great workout tool for people with bad knees. An hour on this machine can burn anywhere from 540 to 800 calories depending on your weight .
4. Swimming.Swimming, in general, can burn up to 266 calories in 30 minutes. Vigorous swimming, breaststrokes, or doing laps will get rid of anywhere from 300 to 444 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your weight .
5. Cycling or using a stationary bike.These two are great low impact cardio exercises for bad knees. Cycling, in general, keeps your knees moving through their range of motion and, at the same time, strengthens the muscles that support your knees. Depending on your weight and gender, you can burn 404 to 450 calories in an hour .
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