Cardio for Bad Knees: Routines, Guide & Remedies

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Cardio for bad knees can be performed without any complications; this is if you choose the right exercises and routines. Also, it’s important to test yourself and evaluate which ones feel right for you.

Needless to say, it’s necessary to stay active and, if possible, avoid sedentary life to enjoy health and well-being. However, whenever you feel pain in your knees, exercise is not very pleasant and difficult. We know.

Although absolute rest seems to be the solution, the lack of movement will only worsen your physical condition and increase the affected joints’ pain.

So you should talk to your doctor about the type of exercises recommended for your particular case, the frequency, and intensity.

Knee pain is an inconvenience that can affect your quality of life if you don’t solve it promptly. That’s why you should be aware of the first symptoms and follow your doctor’s instructions once he or she gives you the diagnosis.

Cardio for bad knees – pain management

For those of us who practice sports, pain is something we must deal with at some point. And the fact is that the joints are the ones that usually get affected the most when performing physical activity.

One of the most punished is the knees, a more common pain than we think, and that can be solved by following a series of steps.

Knee pain is one of the most feared problems among athletes. Because when it appears, it delays training development, and in many cases, it can make you stop completely. Normally, when knee pain appears, it is recommended to stop playing sports and rest to recover.

Of course, this is one of the best measures when the pain is acute since you must avoid it from worsening. Nevertheless, the important thing here is to prevent it before it happens.

Normally, knee pain derives from a lack of strength in the muscles surrounding them. Keep in mind that the knees are one of the joints that support most of your body’s weight, followed by the ankles; since both are part of the legs, we use them daily in each movement that we make.

For this reason, it is necessary to maintain a correct muscular tone in this area to obtain strong joints capable of supporting exercise pressure.

Light cardio for bad knees – Take note

cardio for bad knees

1. Walking

One of the best exercises for people with knee pain is, with no doubt: Walking: This is because it’s a low-impact activity that affects the joints very little.

Besides, it is the simplest and most practical of sports for those who suffer from knee pain.

Not only does walking keep you in good physical condition, but you’ll also get vitamin D (if you do it outside and get some fresh air), it will also help you reduce discomfort. Walking makes the perfect cardio for bad knees choice.

As you feel your legs becoming stronger, you can increase the duration and intensity.

Ideally, it would help if you started with walks on flat and firm surfaces without exceeding 30 minutes. You can distribute this time in small routes if you have to.

(This is a tip you should not overlook if the pain is very sharp or the knee begins to bother you after a few minutes).

2. Cycling, a good cardio for bad knees

Another sport for people with knee pain is cycling. The repetitive movements performed on a bike works the tendons around the knee and the muscles that support its joints.

Cycling is a low-impact sport that gives you the advantage of choosing between an exercise bike or an outdoor one.

If you’re one of those who think cycling will only increase discomfort, you can rest assured that it doesn’t put pressure on your knees. However, you should always start with a smooth ride and increase as you adapt.

Try doing it three to four times a week for 25 to 30 minutes to increase the strength of your legs and cardiovascular capacity.

3. Swimming and water aerobics

Another excellent option is swimming and water aerobics. Besides not putting any pressure on the knees, they’re the best option if you have suffered an injury and cannot practice another sport.

cardio for bad knees

Underwater you can perform exercise sessions to improve resistance and elasticity without forcing your knee joints. This will allow you to jump, turn, and spin without feeling pain.

These activities can also be suitable for those who suffer from arthritis, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia.

Nevertheless, you should always get your doctor’s approval before performing any of these exercises on the safe side.

4. Cardio for bad knees with the elliptical machine

If you don’t really love the idea of walking as a “sport” because you feel that it lacks some challenge then, you should consider the elliptical machine, which is another common sport for people with knee pain.

The force you exert when using it is the same as walking; it won’t hurt your knee. Furthermore, you can play with speed and incline degree to make it even more interesting.

If you are looking to develop leg strength and improve your cardio capacity, this exercise is what you’re looking for.

Start by doing 15-20 minutes three to four days a week to adapt your legs to the movement. As you gain more strength in your legs, you can increase your elliptical workout session’s pace and duration.

5. Yoga and Pilates

The last two sports for people with knee pain are yoga and pilates. The two are low-impact and easy to perform since all you’ll need is just enough space.

Both yoga and pilates will allow you:

  • Relax your mind
  • Correct your posture
  • Improve muscle resistance
  • Strengthen various parts of the body
  • Lose weight (or keep it off, as the case may be)

We advise that you seek guidance from a certified instructor if it’s your first time. Although the poses are simple, you can end up with back pain if you do them incorrectly.

Natural remedies for knee pain

In addition to cardio for bad knees, there are natural alternatives that you can benefit from. Many people don’t tolerate the use of anti-inflammatories very well, so joint discomfort can become a nightmare.

Some natural remedies that can contribute to good maintenance of your joints are the following:

ginger for bad knees

Natural anti-inflammatories

The properties of ginger, rosemary, or horsetail can help reduce knee joint inflammation; they’re natural anti-inflammatories, which can be taken as an infusion or applied as a poultice to the affected area.

Nutritional supplements

They’re a simple and effective way to keep the joints in good shape, prevent wear and tear and help improve swelling.

You only have to follow the instructions on the package; the results are visible after a few days.

Vitamins C, E and D

Vitamins are great allies for your body, and they have natural antioxidants that help keep your body in shape and avoid pain in the joints.


acupuncture for bad knee

Acupuncture is a centuries-old type of treatment that can greatly relieve knee pain. This method consists of inserting and manipulating needles into the body to restore the patient’s well-being.

Cardio for bad knees: Additional recommendations and summary

Now that you have a more general idea of the best sports when dealing with knee pain, remember:

Please don’t overdo it. Start small by practicing for 15-20 minutes three times a week with expert supervision. And when in doubt, ask your doctor if you have any contraindications to consider.

If you have an injury, your doctor will probably recommend that you skip certain practices.

Always wear appropriate footwear. It’s not a good idea to go out with a brand new pair of shoes for a long walk because you can end up with blisters.

Likewise, one that is too worn out may have a bad sole. This can make you slip, giving rise to more injuries.

Finally, avoid wearing completely flat shoes, as they tend to cause back pain and accentuate other discomforts

Why do our knees hurt when we play sports?

“It is not uncommon to experience knee pain while playing sports.” James Winston, a traumatologist at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, explains the following lines in finding the cause of this pain and how to prevent it.

The sporting activity involves repetitive movements of flexion and extension and overloading and stressing a joint such as the knee; it is a load-bearing joint since it supports body weight multiplied by gravity.

Thus, Winston affirms, “as much the repetitive activity with a nontrained musculature, like the change in the intensity of the sport that we are making, or the practice of vigorous or exhausting sports for the knee can condition the appearance of pain or problems.”

sports bad knee

According to Winston, “most people who have knee pain from sports are due to three reasons. The first is a mechanical overload in new athletes, such as those who are starting to run.

The second is over-training in regular athletes who are preparing, for example, to take the firefighter or police examinations and are just in time to apply.

The third cause is the knee injury itself. That is when someone goes to play paddle tennis and breaks his meniscus.”

Sports in which knee pain appears more frequently

“Running sports -so fashionable nowadays -, are the ones that generate more reasons to consult a physician as pain triggers in the anterior knee area.

Chondromalacia of the patella or femoropatellar syndrome is the most frequent pathology within knee pain,” Winston points out.

Other sports that involve knee overuse are skiing, basketball, and soccer, and can cause tendonitis and ligament injuries.

Finally, says the orthopedic surgeon at UCLA, “high-intensity sports such as CrossFit -also prevalent today-, in which rhythm changes, jumping and maximum weight exercises in the form of squats predominate, can lead to the appearance of cartilage injuries and pain in the knees.”

“Traditionally, there were more cases of patellar pain in sports that required load in knee turns, such as soccer, but things have changed with trends in running, and now many people who are not physically prepared suffer simple knee loads that can become painful,” says the traumatologist and orthopedic surgeon at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

General profile of those affected

“It is more common for knee pain to appear in people who are just starting in sports (see running, CrossFit, and skiing) and have not had a previous muscle training routine.

That is to say, they go from being sedentary to performing these sports that are overused for the knees,” indicates Winston.

On other occasions, the expert continues, knee pain appears in the person used to training. When the intensity or duration of the training increases, a change in training is made, or it is practiced with poor technique starts showing problems.

The knee anatomy in women, both because of bone alignment and the muscular imbalance of the thigh, is more predisposed to suffering from anterior knee pain, just as it is in adolescents, and all this is accentuated if they are sedentary.

Older people may have pain related to wear and tear on their joints when trying to play sports demanding on their knees.

“As for the cases of knee injuries that end up requiring surgery -because neither other treatment options, nor rest nor rehabilitation have worked-, men predominate over women,” Winston points out.

Is it preventable?

“Knee pain can be prevented in two ways: with common sense and with a progression adapted to your morphotype (how you step, how much you weigh, and whether you have done any sport or exercise before),” The rest is a matter of luck.

Regarding which sports are most recommended for people with mild knee injuries that are unclear, this orthopedic surgeon advises “that they all try to see which one or two work well and that they adapt it to their body characteristics.”

He explains it with the following example: “if you play paddle tennis three times a week, try to practice it only once.”

Don’t hesitate to share your comments below, your feedback is much appreciated!

cardio for bad knees
Cardio for Bad Knees: Routines, Guide & Remedies

Joel & The Wellness Team

Hey! Joel here; A graduate of Herbalism & Naturopathic Medicine School. My team and I are passionate about finding ways to improve our lives on a daily basis and truly believe in natural alternatives of doing so before seeking traditional medications. However, always consult with your Doctor/Physician first before taking any actions regarding your health. Stay Safe and Healthy!

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