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Low-impact workouts

What is the best cardio exercise for bad knees?

exercise for bad knees

Finding the proper exercise routine can be challenging if you suffer from bad knees. On the one hand, you want to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but on the other hand, you don’t want to risk further injuring your knees. Fortunately, many low-impact exercise options are gentle on the joints while providing an effective cardiovascular workout.

This section will explore the best cardio exercises for bad knees and provide various knee-friendly workout options to incorporate into your fitness routine. Whether recovering from a knee injury or managing chronic knee issues, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cardio exercise is essential for individuals with bad knees, but finding knee-friendly options is crucial.
  • Low-impact exercises like swimming and cycling are great options for those with bad knees.
  • There are specific exercises, such as knee strengthening and rehabilitation exercises, can help improve knee health and prevent future injuries.
  • It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have pre-existing knee conditions.
  • Finding the proper exercise routine can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while protecting your knees.

Low-Impact Workouts for Knee Health

As we age, our joints become more susceptible to wear and tear, and taking good care of them is essential. For those with knee pain, low-impact workouts are the best way to keep your joints healthy. Low-impact exercises are typically less stressful on the knees than high-impact exercises, making them ideal for knee pain sufferers. Here are some effective workouts that you can incorporate into your fitness regimen to strengthen your knees and protect them against further damage:

Knee-Strengthening Exercises

Some great low-impact knee-strengthening exercises include:

Exercise DescriptionPartial squats: Stand about 12 inches from the front of a chair with your feet hip-width apart and your toes forward. Bending at the hips, slowly lower yourself halfway down to the chair. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly rise to stand. 
Step-ups: Steppingp up and down on an aerobic step platform, alternating legs. Keep your entire foot on the platform and not just your toes. 
Ball squats: Place a stabley ball against a wall and lean against it, positioning the ball so that it is behind your back. Slowly squat down while keeping your back against the ball. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly rise back up.

Joint-Friendly Fitness

Low-impact workouts designed for joint-friendly fitness are an excellent way to improve knee health. Some popular options include:

  • Swimming: Swimming is a fantastic way to increase your heart rate without putting undue stress on your knees.
  • Cycling: Cycling is a low-impact exercise for knee health. Consider using a stationary bike if outdoor cycling is not practical.
  • Rowing: Rowing machines provide a total body workout and are ideal for knee pain sufferers.

Remember that effective workouts for knee pain should strengthen your knees and provide adequate cardio exercise.

Low-Impact Workouts for Knee Health

Knee-Friendly Exercises for Weight Loss

Exercise is an essential part of a weight loss journey. However, traditional high-impact workouts like running or jumping jacks can be challenging for those with bad knees. Plenty of practical exercises can help you burn calories and shed those pounds, even if you have bad knees.

Benefits of Exercise for Bad Knees and Weight Loss

Before diving into specific exercises, let’s discuss the benefits of exercise for individuals with bad knees trying to lose weight. Regular physical activity can help improve joint flexibility and strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, which can help alleviate pain and reduce the risk of injury. Additionally, exercise increases metabolism, making it easier to burn calories and lose weight.

When selecting exercises for weight loss, it’s essential to choose low-impact activities that do not put excessive pressure on the knees but still provide an effective workout.

Best Exercises for Bad Knees to Lose Weight

Here are a few of the best exercises for bad knees to help you lose weight:

Exercise Benefits
Walking Low-impact and gentle on the knees can be done indoors or outdoors, swimming
g or water aerobics-weight-bearingg exercise that is easy on the joints while still providing resistance and an effective cardio workout
Cycling or using a stationary bike Low-impact and great for strengthening the lower body muscles without putting pressure on the knees
Elliptical machine low-impactt and works the entire body while reducing strain on the joints
Seated leg raises strengthens the muscles around the knees, easy to do at home or the gym.

These exercises are gentle on the knees and provide an effective workout to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Remember to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as your fitness level improves.

Tip: Adding resistance bands or light weights to your workout can help increase the intensity and effectiveness of these exercises.

Incorporating knee-friendly exercises into your weight loss plan can help you achieve your fitness goals while protecting your knees. Don’t let bad knees stop you from leading a healthy, active lifestyle.

Knee Rehabilitation Exercises

Rehabilitating knee injuries can be challenging, and taking the time to rest and recover before re-engaging in physical activities is essential. But with proper rehabilitation exercises and a consistent routine, you can improve your knee’s functional capacity and reduce pain or discomfort.

The following are some of the most effective exercises for knee rehabilitation:

Exercise DescriptionPartial Squats: Stand in front of a chair with feet shoulder-width apart and slowly lower yourself into the chair. Please return to the standing position without using your hands for support. 
Hamstring Curls: StandStand straight while holding onto a chair for support. Lift one heel back towards the buttocks, then slowly lower it down. Repeat with the other leg. 
Straight Leg Raises: Sitt in a chair and extend one leg straight out with your toes pointing towards the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower the leg back down. Repeat with the other leg. 
Step-Ups: Steppingp onto a platform or sturdy object with your injured leg first, then follow with your other leg. Please go ahead and step down with the uninjured leg, then rest and repeat.

It is essential to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of the exercises. You can consult a healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise program, especially after an injury or surgery. In addition to the exercises above, a physiotherapist might recommend low-impact cardio exercises such as cycling or swimming to help rebuild strength and endurance in the knee joint.

Remember: The goal of knee rehabilitation exercises is to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, increase mobility and flexibility, and improve stability.

Knee Rehabilitation Exercises

Gentle Exercises for Knee Health

Protecting your knees is essential for maintaining overall joint health. In this section, we will share some gentle exercises that can be added to your daily routine to keep your knees strong and pain-free. These exercises reduce stress and improve flexibility and can be done virtually anywhere.

Knee Extension

Start by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Contract your thigh muscles and slowly lift your impacted foot until your ankle is parallel to the ground. Hold for a few seconds, then gently lower your foot back down. Repeat on the other side. Aim to do three sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.

Wall Calf Stretches

Stand a few feet from a wall and lean forward with your palms flat against the wall. With one foot slightly forward, bend your front knee while keeping the back knee straight. You should feel a stretch in the back part of the leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and then switch legs. Repeat this stretch on each leg 3-4 times a day.

Seated Leg Raises

Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground and your back straight. Slowly raise one leg, holding for a count of 2 at its highest point. Could you gently lower the leg back down? Repeat this exercise 10 times on each leg for three sets.

Resistance Band Squats

Loop a resistance band around the base of a sturdy object, like a table or bedpost. With the band around your thighs, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees and lower your body until your thighs parallel the ground. Hold for a few seconds, and then stand back up. Repeat this squat ten times.

Quad Sets

Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other leg straight. Tighten your straight leg muscles to push your knees back toward the ground. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat ten times on each leg for three sets.

These gentle exercises are an excellent way to strengthen and maintain knee health while reducing the risk of injury. Remember to exercise within your comfort zone and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Incorporating these exercises into your daily routine can help you achieve long-term knee health and mobility.


When it comes to knee health, incorporating exercises specifically designed for bad knees is crucial. We can strengthen and protect our knees by engaging in low-impact workouts, knee-friendly exercises, and rehabilitation exercises while still achieving our fitness goals. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if we have pre-existing knee conditions.

Remember, knee pain or discomfort is not something that should be ignored. Finding the proper exercise routine that works for us and our knees can take time. We must be patient and listen to our bodies to avoid exacerbating knee issues. We can improve our knee health and overall well-being with dedication and consistency.


What are the best cardio exercises for individuals with bad knees?

The best cardio exercises for individuals with bad knees are low-impact activities that minimize stress on the knee joints. Some examples include swimming, cycling, using an elliptical machine, and water aerobics. These exercises provide a cardiovascular workout while reducing the impact on the knees.

What are some low-impact workouts that can improve knee health?

Low-impact workouts are excellent options for improving knee health. Some examples include walking, yoga, Pilates, and tai chi. These exercises focus on strengthening the muscles around the knees and increasing joint flexibility. They provide a gentle workout while minimizing strain on the knees.

What is the best exercise for individuals with bad knees to lose weight?

The best exercises for individuals with bad knees to lose weight are those that burn calories without putting excessive pressure on the knees. Some practical options include swimming, water aerobics, stationary biking, and using an elliptical machine. These exercises provide a cardiovascular workout and facilitate weight loss without causing additional knee stress.

What are some knee rehabilitation exercises?

Knee rehabilitation exercises benefit those recovering from knee injuries or managing chronic knee issues. Some examples include straight leg raises, hamstring curls, wall squats, and step-ups. These exercises help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, improve stability, and aid in recovery.

What are some gentle exercises for promoting knee health?

Gentle exercises promote knee health without causing substantial discomfort or pain. Walking, swimming, and gentle stretching are excellent options for maintaining knee mobility and flexibility. These exercises help improve overall knee function and reduce the risk of knee-related complications.


DC Knees Group

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