About 25% of American adults are dealing with chronic knee pain, according to the National Institutes for Health. Many of those who suffer from this find it hard to fathom doing any kind of exercise that puts weight on their joints.
As you learn more about the underpinnings for your bad knees, you can ease into activities that won’t hurt your knees and in some cases help to build them back up.
This is the classic low-impact cardio option if you have access to a pool. Lap swimming gets your heart pumping and your core working your arms and legs, with freestyle and backstroke especially good for helping your knees. Water aerobics gives you the support you need to do almost any move you would in the studio.
Holding onto the back of a chair, bend your knee and raise your foot as high as you can, then bring it slowly back down to the floor. Doing this strengthens your hamstrings and glutes, which can reduce knee pain.
Side leg lifts
Using a chair or wall for support, lift leg out to the side with your foot flexed and, if possible, not bending forward at the torso. Keep your hip, knee and ankle aligned. You can alternate legs or do sets of 10 on each leg.
Marching with medicine ball
If you can stand without your knees hurting, hold a four-to-eight-pound medicine ball up over your head, then lower it down to alternating knees as you march, either in place or in motion.
Walking on treadmill
If you can walk at a slower pace without your knees hurting, a treadmill gives you a softer surface than a concrete sidewalk and is smoother than most dirt paths.
Photo of Cathy Clements by Blushing Cactus Photography