As someone who's been exercising for a long time, I know what it's like when joints start to get a little creaky. In fact, of all of my clients over the age of 40, there isn't one who doesn't have some kind of joint pain, the most common being knee pain. I thought of this as I was reading a comment from one of my readers who said: "I want to exercise, however I have gone through many injuries and falls this year, and my knees are a problem for me right now...which exercises would you recommend for someone with knee injuries?"
My first recommendation won't surprise you: See your doctor if you have any kind of knee pain that lasts more than a couple of weeks. Knee pain can be caused by so many things, it helps to get a proper diagnosis so you can figure out exactly where the pain is coming from.
That said, what I do with my knee-pain clients is this:
- Find ways to exercise safely with knee pain - Sometimes we have to experiment with different activities to find what works. Most of them agree that water exercise is one of the best options if you have joint pain - the water supports your body and allows you to exercise without impact on your joints. Many of them can also walk without too much trouble, although, again, you may have to experiment.
- Stick with low impact exercise - There are lots of great low impact cardio exercises you can do that won't require a bunch of jumping around to get your heart rate up. You may have to experiment to find what feels good to you, but these workouts will give you some ideas: Low Impact Cardio Blast and Low Impact Challenge. The elliptical trainer and/or the stationary bike are also options, although, again, some people can tolerate these activities and some can't. It goes without saying - If it hurts your knee, skip it.
- Learn how to strengthen the muscles that support the knee - There are some basic exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Typically, I'll get an okay from my client's doctor before doing any of these exercises and, often, the doctor may recommend physical therapy before doing anything more strenuous.
Now, it's your turn. For those of you with knee issues, how do you exercise? What has your doctor recommended? Most importantly: If you're overweight, how do you deal with needing to lose weight to take the pressure of your knees...yet your knees hurt too much to exercise? Leave a comment and give us your insights into knee pain and exercise.