Cardio Options Every Person With Sore Knees Needs.
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
You’ve just looked at yet another article telling you the importance of having a little cardio (or cardiovascular if you're getting particular) activity in your life.
It went on to say that running is a great free option that will have your heart pumpin’ and sweat drippin’.
Great *eye roll*.
You’re knees hate you walking up stairs, let alone the thought of smashing out some serious pavement time!
What even is cardio exactly anyway? Basically, it's getting your heart rate up to 64 - 76% of it's maximum beats per minute. Ideally we want to keep it there for 20 minutes minimum 3-5 days per week. (Want to figure out what your ideal rate is? Head to the free Resource Vault here and get your worksheet.)
What activity is best for you to do then?
Read on and let’s find out....
First up, the obvious; cycling/biking.
This requires you to have of course, a bike. Whether it’s a stationary one the likes of which you’ll find in that gym down the road. Or a good old push bike that will have you getting out and exploring in the world.
Why is cycling great?
For a start, it doesn’t add loads of pressure to your knees. You can add as much strain or as less, as you like. Oh – and if you REALLY want, you can even get yourself an e-bike which takes even less pressure off. But then, that might kinda defeat the purpose of having to actually put in some effort to get your heart rate up! Cycling also helps strengthen the muscles in your thighs and around your knees – which is always going to be a good thing.
Why does cycling suck?
Well, what if it rains/snows/blows a gale? Unless you’re the person who is tucked up in that cosy gym down the road, suddenly cycling doesn’t feel too appealing year round. Brilliant in Summer and warmer months. Shite when the weather turns and you’d rather a visit to the dentist than get drenched in Winter rain!
Get a stationary bike for home and a push bike. (But then, hey, finances and space right!?).
Secondly we have swimming or water-walking.
These are both excellent options to take all the pressure off your joints. Nothing like feeling a little weightless as you bop yourself around the pool!
Why is swimming great?
As just mentioned, you won’t have your weight adding pressure to your knees. This take the physical load off, allowing you to strengthen those thigh muscles, without doing the damage. Water walking or water aerobics gives you the added resistance training aspect too. Winning!
Why does swimming suck?
Unless you’re in the financial capacity to have your own 30 m pool in your backyard, a tepid lake down the road, or live somewhere in the calm tropics, it’s hard to access a decent pool of water on the near-daily. Having to transport yourself to a location, get changed, unchanged and dry. Transport yourself all the way back home again.... *phew* what an effort! And if it’s one of those days where the motivation to actually do your cardio can go one way or the other.... what do you think might happen in this scenario?? Right? Right...
Marry a someone rich and get them to build an olympic sized, heated, covered pool on your estate. Or just use swimming as another option on your list for when you feel like a change. ;-)
Then there is of course, walking.
Walking costs you nothing – except your time and energy of course! But hey, it wouldn’t be cardio if you didn’t have to put in any effort!
Why is walking great?
Walking is of course free! You can do it anywhere, any time and is the most common form of cardio that the everyday person does on a day to day basis. Intensity varies depending on how hard you want to push yourself – and the terrain you’re walking on. Walking up slopes or hills is going to get your heart pumping harder and will have more of a cardiovascular benefit than walking on level ground.
Why does walking suck?
It can be challenging! Especially if you’re walking up the said hills from earlier. Great if you live in an area without hills, but if you’re living up the slopes of some valley, you may not have a choice in the matter. This can then also aggravate the pain in your knees if you’re tackling the inclines. Too much, or too much too soon can also cause pain to your joints – especially if you’re overweight. Depending on how much excess weight you’re carrying, will depend on how far you’re able to go without your knees yelling abuse at you. It’s also hard to motivate yourself to walk when the weather isn’t exactly like the sunny skies of the Carribbean. Middle of Winter with rain, snow, hail or freezing winds, doesn’t help your joint pain, or your willingness to get it done.
Figure out some good walking paths/routes that challenge you, but don’t cause un-necessary stress on your knees. You’re going to have to be a scientist on this one and do a little experimenting to see how much is enough. If you go too far and suffer for it the following day, then learn from that effort and cut down either your pace, type or terrain or distance next time. Alternatively, if you can afford a treadmill, you can do it no matter the weather and figure out the exact distance and incline level that is perfect for you.
Next up we have chair aerobics.
Not as well known, there are classes and online videos that you can follow along to that will have your heart pumping whilst sitting in the ‘comfort’ of your chair.
Why is chair aerobics great?
Namely, it takes the pressure entirely off your knees! You do not need to stand and therefore load bear in order to get your heart rate up. This minimises the impact on your joints and keeps them a lot happier. Chair aerobics can easily be done indoors – perfect for the days when you glance out the window and shudder at the trees being whipped around by rain and wind!
Why does chair aerobics suck?
Access to great classes with a knowledgeable instructor is your greatest barrier between the workout being amazing, average or not existing at all! It can be difficult to find a class locally, which means hunting out some online classes. These may be too fast, or too slow for your abilities. You may not enjoy the instructors style and this can mean not wanting to get going in the first place.
Search for the greatest sessions online that you can find and keep yourself accountable by signing up! Show up and do the work.
And we also have online knee-safe home workouts for cardio.
These are awesome to not only get your cardio in, but also build much-needed muscle strength and quality muscles.
Why are home workouts great?
When the program is designed specifically for bad knees, you can just open your device and hit the play button. You can get your workout in any time, anywhere. The combination of cardio movements and strength-based movements have a combined affect to both build lean muscle, and burn excess body fat. Building the muscles around your knee and stabilising joints, will also help to decrease the pain symptoms caused by weak muscles and imbalances.
Why do home workouts suck?
If the workout has been designed by someone without the right training or experience, you could do more damage than good. Lots of online programs involve jumping, running and lunging – all of which would have your knees screaming! So the RIGHT program for painful knees is paramount.
Sign up to the workouts here that have been specifically designed for bad knees! If you’ve been inactive for a long time, or are very overweight, then starting with the 28 Day Program is perfect for you. If you are already reasonably active with any of the above options, then Save the Knees Membership program is a breath of fresh air, with new workouts added weekly to mix things up and keep your body challenged – in the right ways.
As you can see, you have a lot of options! My recommendation is to choose the ones that suit you best and mix and match as you go!
If you need any personal advice or help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get back to you asap.