By Matthew Foster
If you are into fitness and keeping yourself in shape, then you already know the importance of regular cardiovascular exercise (or 'cardio') in building your endurance and maintaining a healthy body.
Cardio is just as important for people who suffer from knee problems, however, they must take extra special care to choose ONLY exercises that don't place undue stress on their already vulnerable knees.
Follow the cardio regimen recommended in this post, and you will build stamina and muscle and maintain your strength, but in a way that is easy on your knees. Read on to find out more. And for even more information on how to keep your knees healthy while exercising, go to KneeSafe.com.
This is one of the best cardio exercises out there for those of you with bad knees. Low impact and also versatile, with many different strokes you can try, it also burns through the calories rapidly, and gives your entire body a good workout.
Be sure to avoid techniques that stress the knees – for example the frog kick – and refrain from tensing your knees unnecessarily. Maintain the proper form as you kick, and try to avoid pushing off the wall when you commence a lap.
This activity also delivers a full body workout which, unlike running and jogging, is also fairly easy on the knees. Remember to stick to walking on smooth, flat surfaces. As you progress, and your muscles strengthen, you may be able to graduate to low-impact hiking activities.
Take Up Dancing!
Join a dance class and you take up a low-impact cardio activity that will keep your heart-rate elevated for extended periods of time, without placing unnecessary stress and strain on your knees. It can be ballet, salsa, modern or tap – the specific form of dancing doesn't matter. Any type of dancing is a great way to stretch and strengthen your muscles, and get your body in shape.
Ditch the Treadmill and Use the Elliptical
If you hit the gym regularly, switch over from the treadmill machine to the elliptical trainer. You will get pretty much the same level of intensity from your workout, but because your feet don't leave the pedals at any stage of the workout, there is far less prospect of hurting your knees (or your hips, neck or back).
This exercise is basically running but without the impact to your knees – it's one of the best workouts around for those of you with dodgy joints.
Get On Your Bike
Take your bicycle out of storage and go for a ride. Cycling is one of the best exercises out there for burning calories and building your endurance. If you don't have your own bike, use the stationary bicycle at the gym.
Tip: the traditional stationary bike is better than the sitting one, because it engage more of your muscles.
Walk Things Out
Last but certainly not least, why not just take a good, old-fashioned stroll. This is a wonderful form of low impact cardio, it also enables you to get some fresh air and enjoy the elements. Be sure to stretch properly beforehand, wear the right footwear, and maintain a brisk pace in order to get the most effective results.
If you suffer from knee problems, then getting the right amount of cardio and in a way that doesn't worsen the pain in your joints can be a real challenge. Confine yourself to these exercises though and you should be OK. Be sure to switch back and forth between all these activities in order to engage all of your major muscle groups and keep your workout routine interesting and challenging.
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