Sure, you have probably heard from time to time that running is bad for your knees. And maybe you hear some people complain but just shrug it off. Actually, knee pain is an incredibly common issue with running. Our knees bear our weight all day so really we are just adding to it by trying to run for 30+ minutes on them 5 days a week. Whether you are a casual runner, a triathlete, someone recovering from an injury, or someone living with arthritis, your knees can suffer from overuse. The good news is, you can gain a lot of benefits from other exercises that don’t hurt your knees.
Remember, strengthening your muscles to provide support for your joints is definitely a good thing, but if you have pain that means there is inflammation and you don’t want that hanging around too long. Instead, try one of these cardio exercises. They are better on your joints and will still charge your cardiovascular system.
Rowing is a great workout, whether you have bad knees or not. It is one of those exercises that can target almost every muscle at the same time. It activates the arms, back, and core muscles for more of a full-body workout. With the rower, you can get your heart pumping in no time. Do not that the rower does require bending of the knees. If bending your knee gives you pain, then this exercise is a no-go.
If you have access to a pool, swimming laps are highly effective. It is arguably the least impactful cardio workout you can find while getting the heart rate up. A bonus is that the water adds some resistance to your laps.
Here is a beginner swimming workout:
- To warm up, swim 100 yards of your stroke of choice at an easy pace.
- Alternate 50-yard freestyles at an easy pace with swimming 50 yards with a kickboard. Repeat two times.
- Swim 4×1-minute freestyles. If you make it to the wall before the minute is up you get to rest those extra seconds.
- Swim 300 yards of your stroke of choice at an easy pace.
- Reat 4×1 if you have time leftover.
Hear us out. It literally requires no equipment and you can do it anywhere. Power walking can get your heart rate up in that nice fat-burning zone for the duration of your entire walk. There really isn’t extra time needed to warm up or cool down–you are just a calorie-burning machine for however long you want to walk.
Ready to try a new exercise that doesn’t hurt your knees?