Knee pain is no joke. It’s something a large percentage of the population experiences at some point in their lives. The problem with knee pain is that our knees are essential for all manners of exercise. When you want to stay fit, lose pounds, or just enjoy physical activity, you generally need your knees. Well, this isn’t entirely true, as there are many workouts that allow you to only scarcely use your knees. If you’re looking for aerobic alternatives for your knee pain, here are a few examples.
1. Taking a dip in the pool
Swimming is one of the most versatile physical activities out there. You can train any muscle group and improve your overall fitness with the right swimming techniques. Most importantly, it’s an activity that has minimal impact on your joints. You’d be hard-pressed to find something that will give you as much of a cardio workout like swimming, without causing discomfort.
Some of the most popular techniques for cardio include breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle swimming. Of these three, freestyle is the most effective at burning calories. At a whopping 100 calories per 10 minutes of swimming, it even outdoes jogging as an aerobic activity. Whichever one you choose; you can be sure that your knees will be spared of any excessive pressure.
2. Working out with Pilates
Pilates probably wouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of exercises to try after a knee injury, but it’s surprisingly easy on the knees. When done correctly, it can even provide pain relief and help in recuperation of injuries.
In general, Pilates provides benefits for posture and muscle and joint strength. This makes it ideal for knee recovery. It also helps release tension when standing, which further helps the knees. Look online for aerobic Pilates exercises that would suit you. There are a lot of them to choose from, but they are great at providing a solid workout.
3. Using the elliptical machine
While the treadmill is considered a big no-no for those with injured knees, the elliptical doesn’t have this kind of limitation. While you might be “running” in a way, your feet don’t actually leave the pedals. This makes it great for stimulating the same muscle groups as running does, without actually having the downsides of knee strain.
Hopping on the elliptical is pretty easy, and so is using it. You can even calculate how many calories you’re using, much like on a treadmill. Make sure you’re using it correctly and with good form, as this is essential for minimizing joint usage.
4. Going for a bike ride
Riding a bike seems like it should utilize every part of your leg. After all, professional cyclers tend to have gargantuan leg muscles. While this is true, it’s surprisingly easy on the knees. Cycling doesn’t put a lot of pressure on any joint, but it does provide a very efficient cardio workout.
The best thing about cycling is that you choose your own difficulty. You can go for a light ride on flat terrain and get a bit of cardio done, or you can go mountain biking and enjoy an adrenaline-packed adventure. It depends on how much of a workout you want, and nothing more.
Those with joint pain might want a light cardio workout with minimal stress. Being caught with knee pain in the middle of a ride doesn’t bode well for the rest of your day. This is why reliable electric bikes have surged in popularity as of recently. The motor can take over whenever you feel that your legs are getting tired. This allows for a relaxing ride that’s free of joint pain and discomfort, even when you unexpectedly encounter pain.
5. Working out with adapted exercises
There are tons of workouts that work our legs, backs, and hips, but they often interact heavily with our knee joints. Many of these workouts have versions that include minimal knee engagement, while also providing quite a few benefits for cardio and muscle building.
Start with some light exercises like assisted calf raises. With just a chair, you can minimize any pressure that’s put on your joints during the workout. Stair climbing is also made easier by going a step at a time, or with the assistance of a walker. Going with the healthier leg upstairs while using your affected leg going down makes the process easier. Try out the many exercises that work for knee pain and you’re bound to come across a few dozen that suit you. It’s going to make aerobic workouts much easier and you’ll keep your muscles healthy along the way.
Don’t let knee pain prevent you from aerobic exercise. While it might be a mitigating factor, you can still get the workout you need without further harming your knees. Consider some of the above examples and try to incorporate them into your exercise regime. It’s going to mean a lot for your knee health and overall fitness level.