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How To Still Do Cardio if You've Got Lower Body Injuries

How To Still Do Cardio if You've Got Lower Body Injuries

Having an injury on your lower body can be a big bummer (no pun intended). A bad knee or twisted ankle can put a real damper in your cardio plans.

Fortunately there are ways to go around it, so here are some ideas for still getting a workout without putting too much pressure on your lower body:

  • Swimming: Swimming is a great low impact activity and you can put a buoy in between your legs to make sure you use them to kick. It is also a good idea not to push off from the side of the pool with your legs at the start of each lap. Omitting the push-off will not only protect your knees, but you will have to swim more and therefore get a better workout. Plus, I've already laid out some great swimming programs for you.
  • Upper Body Ergometer: It's a piece of equipment that some gyms have that looks kind of like pedals for your hands (pictured on right). Try doing 30 minutes alternating pedaling forward and backward every few minutes.
  • Upper Body Strength Training: You can always do upper body training which is a great way to develop lean muscles.
  • Kayaking: If you're near a place to do it, kayaking (and canoing) are great upper body workouts that are easy on the lower body. Kirsten Dunst gets a good workout from kayaking and I don't think she has bad knees.
  • Rowing: This would be a great way to build up your lower body after an injury (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.
  • Elliptical: Once you get the OK from your doc, the elliptical is a relatively low impact form of exercise (compared to running) so it would be a good option for building back muscle strength.

Fit's Tip: Before starting any exercise plan with an injury, it is wise to check with your doctor first.


Join The Conversation
AmazonChick AmazonChick 10 years
You rock FitSugar, I just strained my ankle running and I'm going nuts without regular jogging after work - but I'm going to the gym and hitting up the pool tonight and maybe the bike tomorrow. Thanks!
rubialala rubialala 10 years
i love the recumbant stationary bike, it doesn't hurt my knee at all.
Elizabeth1981 Elizabeth1981 10 years
I ruptured my ACL in March (surgery finally planned for July), and my physical therapist got me into pilates for strength since it's so easy to modify, along with stationary bike for cardio. After my surgery, I should be back on the elliptical as well. Rowing hadn't occured to me... but it makes perfect sense. I plan to give it a try!
mollipop mollipop 10 years
I injured both knees in a car accident, and my physical therapist had me ride a stationary bike which really fulfilled my cardio needs and helped me get my strength back.
JustSomeChick JustSomeChick 10 years
I get terrible pain in my knees. Already had one operated on and the other will be worked on come fall. I have an elliptical and it's virtually pain-free for me!
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