Skip Nav
Healthy Eating Tips
Why It's Important to Stop Drinking Shots of ACV
Weight Loss
3 Mistakes Not to Make at the Start of a Diet
Healthy Recipes
15 Healthy, Protein-Packed Dishes That Will Make You Fall in Love With Ground Beef

Cardio Ideas for Bad Knees

You Asked: Cardio For Bad Knees?

You're asking and I'm answering . . .

"I have two problematic knees. Right now I'm trying to get in shape and lose some weight, and I know that cardio is necessary to achieve my goals. I signed up for a varied workout class that runs three nights a week: one day of step aerobics, one day of weight sculpting, and one day of Pilates and/or yoga. I really want to stick with this routine, but I'm worried that the step aerobics and some of the weight training is too hard on my knees. Am I doing more harm than good? And if so, can you recommend some knee-friendly cardio I can do instead?"

To read my answer just


Great question and trust me you are not alone here. A lot of us face the issue of exercising with bad knees so I know it's not fun. Fortunately there are a lot of great cardio activities you can do that are safe for your knees and great calorie burners. Such as:

  • Swimming: Swimming is a great low impact activity and you can put a buoy between your legs to make sure you use them to kick. Omit the push-off on the wall to protect your knees. Check out all my great swimming programs.
  • Upper Body Ergometer: It's a piece of equipment that some gyms have that looks kind of like pedals for your hands. Try doing 30 minutes alternating pedaling forward and backward every few minutes.
  • Kranking: Kranking is basically a high energy upper body ergometer group class that is popping up nationwide. Look for it in gyms near you.
  • Kayaking: If you're near a place where it's warm enough to do it, kayaking is a great upper body workout that is easy on the lower body. Even those without bad knees, such as Kirsten Dunst, like to get a good workout from kayaking.
  • Rowing Machine: This is a great option for building up lower body strength (or a good stepping stone to high impact activities). Almost every gym has a rowing machine and they're usually open, so try it out.
  • Stationary Bike: Stationary bikes are very low impact and many people with knee problems love to get their cardio this way — I'd stick with the recumbent bike as it puts the least amount of stress on your legs.
  • Elliptical: The elliptical is a relatively low impact form of cardio (compared to running and step) that a lot of people with bad knees enjoy.
Gifts For Fitness-Lovers
What Are the Best Ab Exercises?
Anna Hulda Olafsdottir Doing CrossFit at 39 Weeks Pregnant
Fitness Gifts For Her
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds