The Best Cardio For Bad Knees

When your knees are in constant pain it is hard to stay active. No matter the condition or diagnosis: arthritis, meniscus, ACL/PCL, or maybe even just bad knees it can be difficult to still get your cardio workouts in. Chronic knee pain can make walking, going up and down stairs, or getting out of the car more difficult. If you have bad knees, just thinking about running or some other form of impact cardio may instill fears of pain. Don’t worry, here are the top 8 cardio workouts for bad knees.

Swimming With Bad Knees

Swimming is probably one of the best cardio workouts for people with bad knees. No matter, if you are swimming laps or doing water aerobics, swimming as a form of cardio, can not be beat. The amount of weight placed on your joints greatly decreases if performing water aerobics. If you are swimming laps there is almost no weight placed on your knees. Swimming lets you involve nearly every muscle of your body making this a great workout. Simply doing freestyle is a great place to start as it burns around 100 calories per 10 minutes depending on body weight.

Elliptical For People With Bad Knees

Ellipticals are a good option for regular cardio if you have bad knees. Ellipticals are very low impact compared to other cardio options such as running or even walking. If even walking bothers your knees then training on the elliptical can be a great option because it is very low impact but is relatively specific to walking. This makes the elliptical a great option if your knees make it hard to walk.

elliptical for bad knees

Cycling with Bad Knees

In order of impact on the knees, cycling would be even less than walking or using the elliptical. This lack of impact also means you aren’t putting a lot of weight through your legs. The decreased weight is great for your bad knees but does mean it is slightly less functional and a little more difficult to get a good workout with. You crank up the resistance to help compensate. You can go for a bike ride or use a stationary bike. It doesn’t matter as long as you get those bad knees moving!

Walking For Cardio

Walking is a great form of cardio if your bad knees can tolerate it. Walking is probably one of the most functional exercises you can do. A sneaky way to actually increase the difficulty and decrease the impact is to walk up a hill or use an incline treadmill. When walking up an incline, you decrease how far your foot travels from the ground. This causes less impact on your painful knees. I would not recommend walking down a decline purposefully because you are doing the opposite. You repeatedly jam your knee joints together. This doesn’t mean you should avoid it in your daily life. I just wouldn’t recommend it as a purposeful form of cardio.

Rowing For Cardio With Bad Knees

A rowing machine is a great form of low impact cardio. It involves your whole body including arms. This means you get the whole body involved and you put less stress on your bad knees. This is a great option as a result.

StairMaster or Step ups as Cardio For Bad Knees

The StairMaster is a great form of cardio. When you walk up stairs you also are reducing the distance your legs travel from the ground. This means you reduce the impact on your joints. Walking up stairs also increases the difficulty of the cardio workout. Going up stairs is also very functional and something you have to do with your day to day.

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