When knee pain appears, it can be a hassle to work out. All of the most typical cardio exercises like running, cycling, and even walking, are more difficult to manage. Also terrible on the knees is one of the best muscle-building exercises, the squat. Working out with knee pain is not only painful but, can cause long-term damage if not taken care of. On the other hand, doing away with cardio and strength exercises altogether also comes with effects, including weight gain, loss of stamina, and even cardiovascular problems further down the road. If you’re suffering from knee pain and not sure what to do, we’re here to help. Below, we have squat and cardio for bad knees that will get your heart pumping.
These exercises are low impact, taking the pressure off of the knees and joints. You’ll still get the same burn without pesky pain, reaping the same benefits as an intense cardio workout.
Best Cardio Exercises for Bad Knees
There are lots of options when it comes to cardio for bad knees. Some may be more enjoyable than others depending on the types of exercises that catch your attention. These low impact cardio for bad knees options will give you the same benefits as a powerful cardio session including speeding up the heart rate, pumping up metabolism, and burning those unwanted calories.
Take a Walk
This is alternative cardio for bad knees. Walking is not for everyone and may still cause pain in severe cases. If knee pain is minor and a result of improper running, it may be best to substitute for walking. Taking a brisk walk is a low-impact option that doesn’t put a lot of pressure on the knees. You can work up a sweat and get your heart pumping at a good pace. One thing to watch out for when walking is the use of proper shoes, making sure that you’re not causing any further damage to the body due to improper form.
Hit the Swimming Pool
The swimming pool is one of the best options when it comes to cardio for bad knees. When taking a swim, all of the pressure on the joints is lifted. A sense of relief sweeps over the body as it can float and relax a bit. However, for cardio, you’ll have to get moving. You can take a few laps around the pool for a quick calorie-burning cardio workout. To get more of a toning exercise, you can opt for jogging in place while in the pool or even doing some reps with resistance bands.
Hop on a Bike
If you hit the gym often, you can opt for an elliptical machine or stationary bike. Both are perfect cardio for bad knees that burn calories without any added pressure on the joints. With both, you’re keeping your feet attached to the pedal, causing little to no pain when it comes to form. With both, you’re able to engage several large muscle groups at the same time. This engagement over 30 to 60 minutes is a great cardio exercise that increases endurance and stamina. If you have a bike at home, you can also take to the great outdoors to get some fresh air.
Circuits for the Win
Whether you’re at the gym or home, you can do a circuit workout as alternate cardio for bad knees. In the gym, you can choose an area with machines set up close to one another. What you’ll want to do is pump out reps for 30 seconds moving quickly to the next machine.
Keep on going until you’ve completed the circuit and repeat as many times as your body will allow. At home, go for cardio without legs like push-ups, uppercuts, and sit-ups that don’t require you to get on your knees. Choose anywhere from three to ten exercises, going through them in the same ‘circuit-style’ mentioned above. You’re sure to work up a sweat after the first round guaranteed.
Squat Alternatives Bad Knees Will Love
The squat is one of the most famous workouts out there. It strengthens the thighs, glutes, and core all at the same time. The only bad thing is, it is tough on the knees. The constant bending and straightening of the knees can cause strain on the knees and surrounding joints. But, if you’ve got bad knees, we’ve got good news for you! There are several substitutes to the famous squat that have the same burning and shaping power without the pain. They are low-impact but, create the build and burn you’re after.
This workout targets the same muscle groups as the squat without putting pressure on the knees. You start by lying down with the feet spread hip-width apart. From there, you will need to keep the core engaged to lift yourself up using the glute muscles.
The deadlift is a great workout for the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. It is a great alternative to the squat, keeping the pressure off of the knees and focusing on the glutes. For this exercise, you’ll need to keep your back straight and knees slightly bent. Moving from the hips, bend forward until the back is parallel to the floor. Then, slowly come back up to complete one rep. To add some extra burning benefits, you can add weights in the hand or go for single-leg deadlifts for extra work.
Depending on how fast you go, this could be alternate cardio for bad knees. Step-ups are easy and put little to no pressure on the knees. What you’ll need to do is grab a chair or blocks at the gym that come up hip height or higher. Then, one leg at a time, you’ll need to step up, using the thigh and glute muscles to lift you. Doing a few reps of these, you’ll work up a sweat.
Is Weight Loss Possible with Bad Knees?
It is a common misconception that bad knees put a damper on weight loss. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re wondering how to exercise with bad knees to lose weight, it’s 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.
Keep Joints Happy and Healthy
Exercise is important for keeping the body and mind healthy. Part of that exercise comes in the form of cardio, which burns fat and gets the heart pumping. While squats and cardio for bad knees can be a hassle, several alternatives will keep joints healthy and happy.
Working out should be something that keeps the body in shape and working properly. That’s why it is important to protect the body and all the joints, with low-impact cardio. Now that you have options, there should be nothing holding you back from working up a sweat. You’ll be glad you did.