Don’t let bad knees stop you from exercising. There are plenty of ways to stay fit without putting strain on your knees. Here are some tips on how to get in a good workout if you have knee problems.
1. Keep it low on the cardio
Engaging in low-impact cardio exercise is key if you have bad knees. Biking, swimming and walking are a few of your best options for cardio. If you’re at the gym, try using the elliptical trainer. Just be sure to keep the intensity level on low so you do not overexert your knees.
2. Don’t skip strength training
One of the best ways to decrease knee pain is by strength training your lower body. Building your leg and thigh muscles (i.e. calves, quadriceps and hamstrings) will improve shock absorption and will also place less strain on your knees. Hamstring curls, leg lifts and wall squats are great knee-saving exercises.
3. Run smart
Contrary to popular belief, running is not necessarily bad for your knees. The type of surface you run on is often the cause of knee pain. Cement, concrete and other pavement are the least forgiving to your knees. Grass, synthetic track and the treadmill offer the best shock absorption. Make sure you have proper running shoes and replace them every three months or 300-500 miles.
4. What to avoid
Certain exercises are known to cause or intensify knee pain. Lunges and deep squats are especially problematic to your knees because they place a large amount of stress on them. If performed incorrectly, these two exercises can cause a knee injury. During these exercises it is extremely important that you never extend your kneecap past your toes. Jumping and kickboxing, both high-impact, are other exercises to be avoided.
So next time you’re having knee pain, follow these tips and put your knees at ease.