If you don’t want to give up exercising even after a knee injury or because of joint or bone pain, then don’t. Keeping your muscles toned and getting in a cardio workout is possible even if you can’t put stress on your knees or joints. Regular exercise is great for your heart health as well as your mood and can aid in weight management. Choose exercises such as yoga, swimming and even recumbent bicycling to save your knees from jarring or painful impact.
Cycling indoors has many advantages. You can participate in this activity even if there’s snow on the ground or the temperature is unbearably hot. Cycling indoors may not have as much action as outdoor bicycling, but you still can get an excellent cardio workout. The recumbent bike is a great alternative to outdoor bicycling, especially for those who are looking for a no-impact workout. Not only does the recumbent bike take the pressure off your knees, but it also puts you in a semi-reclined position, where you can adjust the intensity and speed of your workout. Work your way up to 20 to 30 minutes three times per week, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can also split your time into 10-minute blocks two to three times per day, three days a week to make it easier on your knees and joints.
The fourth most popular sports activity in the U.S. is swimming, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s not only a popular activity for many, but it’s a great no-impact alternative workout for those who suffer from knee problems, arthritis and other ailments involving muscles and joints. Another positive benefit to swimming is that you can enjoy it longer without increased effort or joint pain compared to other land-based cardio workouts.
Yoga is a great exercise to include that does not impact your knees. However, you should only perform yoga poses if you’ve already recovered from a knee injury or have received permission from your doctor or physical therapist. Certain yoga poses can actually make your knees more flexible, less prone to injuries and stronger. Some of these yoga poses are the triangle pose, wind relieving pose, corpse pose, single leg raises and the relaxation pose.
It’s important to first get clearance from your doctor or physical therapist before starting any exercise program. If you are just starting out after a knee injury or if you suffer from joint or bone pain, it’s best to take things slow. You also shouldn’t ignore pain. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, you shouldn’t feel serious pain during exercises that don't impact the knees. You may feel a little discomfort because you are challenging muscles, but if serious pain occurs, stop the exercise immediately.
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.