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10 Best Ways To Exercise With A Bad Knee 

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 15, 2022

Exercising on a regular basis continues to be an important part of your overall health. Not only can it help you maintain a healthy weight and build lean muscle mass, but exercise is also a great way to relieve stress. One issue that can preclude people from exercising regularly is if they have pain or injuries, such as bad knees. Fortunately, there are ten tips you can follow that can allow you to exercise with a bad knee. In this article we will cover the following tips for exercising with bad knees:

Wear a Knee Brace

If you want to start exercising with a bad knee, the most important thing you should do is wear the right protective and supportive equipment. In many cases, this means wearing a knee brace. The best knee braces for running and other activities can vary based on your personal situation and knee health, but generally, they should provide some support around your knee but also allow you to move without too much resistance.

Use Proper Cardio Equipment

Many people that want to start exercising again will want to start using cardio equipment to help get their cardiovascular fitness back. When you are going to complete a cardio workout, it is very important that you use the right equipment. Generally, the best cardio equipment for bad knees will include elliptical machines that are low impact on your knees but will allow you to move quickly without a lot of strain.

Low Impact Exercises

Similar to when you want to use an elliptical, focusing on exercising that does not put a lot of strain on your knees is very important. Some low-impact exercises that you can enjoy can include Zumba, lap swimming, or even going for a walk. These exercises can help you build muscle mass, lose weight, and improve your overall physical health.

Pay Attention to Pain

If you are trying to recover from any type of knee injury, you will likely be excited about starting working out again. If you are going to exercise, you should avoid working out through pain. You should always listen to your body and stop exercising if you feel discomfort in your knee.

Get the Right Shoes

Having a quality pair of shoes is important no matter what type of exercise you enjoy. Some of the best running sneakers for bad knees include various options provided by Brooks and New Balance that offer cushioning to reduce impact. The best Zumba shoes for bad knees and other exercises provide similar comfort and support.

Avoid Exercises that Strain Knees

As you are exercising with knee pain, you should focus on avoiding exercises that strain your knees. Some of the most common exercises that can hurt your knees are those that use weight resistance and focus on leg strength. Fortunately, there are alternatives to squats and lunges for bad knees. Some common exercises to consider include kettlebell step-ups, goblet squats, and deadlifts that help to strengthen your legs without adding force to your knees.

Some common exercises to consider when you have bad knees include kettlebell step-ups, goblet squats, and deadlifts that help to strengthen your legs without adding force to your knees.

Stretch and Warm-Up

As you are looking to incorporate any type of exercise regimen, it is important to ensure you are prepared. This includes completing a proper warm-up and stretching routine. When the muscles around your knee are prepared for a workout, it can take the strain off of your knees. This can help you avoid further aggravation and injury and can help you have a more efficient workout.

Improve Knee Strength

If you want to exercise with a bad knee, it is important that you strengthen your knee as well as you can. One of the best ways to do this is with bodyweight exercises such as air squats and half lunges. As you build strength, you can add more resistance.

Build Up to It

If you have suffered from a knee injury in the past, the recovery process can seem long and tedious. On some days, it may seem that you can handle far more than you are trying to take on. However, it is always important that you are slow and steady when it comes to building up knee strength. This means slowly adding minutes to your workout when doing cardio and adding a slight amount of weight periodically when you are lifting for strength. Ultimately, this will help ensure you improve your knees without putting on too much stress.

Listen to Your Doctor

Most importantly, when you are looking to exercise with bad knees, it is important to listen to your doctor and therapist. If you receive care and support for your knees, you will likely have a detailed plan for what activities you should and should not do. It is important that you always pay attention to the plan that your doctor or physical therapist has provided. This will ensure you continue to make progress and can prevent any serious setbacks.


How Can I Protect My Knee When Exercising?

There are various ways to protect your knees when you are exercising. Most importantly, you should pay attention to your knee and stop putting pressure on it if you do feel pain. Further, wearing a knee brace and appropriate shoes can protect your knee and reduce impact when working out.

What Exercises are Ideal if I have Knee Pain?

If you do have knee pain, there are various types of exercise that can help you reach your fitness goals. Some great options include Zumba classes, swimming, walking, or using an elliptical machine. These tend to be low-impact while also allowing you to burn some calories.

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