Mar - Apr 2023

3 Fitness Ideas When Your Knees Are Saying No

By Amy Bunn, RN BSN


We all know that exercise is important to not only help us achieve our weight loss goals, but also to maintain overall health.  Benefits of regular exercise include improved cardiovascular fitness, better flexibility, and enhanced sleep and mood.  But what do you do when you have physical limitations that may prevent you from doing certain types of physical activity?  Specifically knee pain, which is a very common ailment amongst men and women alike.  It is important to remember that most exercises can be modified to meet your individual needs, and the proper exercise selection can actually improve knee pain by strengthening the muscles that stabilize our joints.


Going for a gold old-fashioned walk is one of the best overall cardio exercises that you can do.  Unlike running or jogging, which are higher-impact and can lead to muscle and joint injuries over time, walking is low-impact and not only burns calories but also offers benefits such strengthening the bones and muscles which can protect the joints.  To make your walks even more comfortable for your knees, opt surfaces that are softer such as dirt or grass over hard pavement and be sure to wear supportive footwear. 


Another great option for low-impact cardio is the elliptical machine.  When using an elliptical, your feet never leave the pedals, making it a great alternative to running or jogging on a treadmill or pavement while experiencing a similar calorie burn. 


Lastly, if knee pain is keeping you from exercising, try getting into the pool.  Swimming is a great choice, as the water removes virtually all impact while allowing for significant calorie burn and cardiovascular benefits in addition to muscle strengthening.  Other exercises done in the water, such as water aerobics, provide great exercise while utilizing the buoyancy of water to take impact off of your sore joints.


Exercise plays a critical role in our overall health and well-being.   Although we may face limitations as far as what we can do physically, the key is finding something that works for you that you can also enjoy and stick with.  In the end, your whole body will thank you!