Exercise can be considered a necessity, whether your goal is to stay in shape, improve your health, or lose a few pounds around the middle. But what should you do if you have restrictions that aren’t so easy to get around, like back injuries or bad knees?
What kind of exercises can you do to lose that stubborn belly fat, or stay in shape, when you have bad knees? There are several options, including swimming, biking, yoga, and more.
This article looks at the options to burn belly fat when you’re dealing with bad knees and the risk of reinjury.
What Sort of Exercises Can You Do When You Have Bad Knees?
For some, knee pain or bad knees may be an issue of too much weight and not enough movement. Getting the blood flowing and the body moving might have a beneficial impact on both weight and knee pain.
For others, however, old knee injuries, damage, or medical conditions might result in concerns that increased movement won’t fix. If that’s the case, then a little bit of caution might be advised when starting up a new workout regime for yourself.
What Types of Things Should I Consider When Planning Exercise in This Case?
If you’re looking to work around bad knees, or other problem joints, here are things you need to consider:
- Low Impact: You don’t want exercises that put too much strain on the affected areas. For bad knees, avoid things that require a lot of jumping or running, at least in the beginning.
- Good Cardio Involvement: You want to get your heart rate and your respiration up to help burn those calories and those pounds.
- Start Slow: Even with low-impact exercises, you can strain your body doing too much too soon. There’s nothing wrong with building up to beneficial levels, even if it takes a little longer.
- Consistency: Pick something you can do frequently, and have easy access to. This helps you build up support over time.
- Clearly Measured Goals: Pick things where you can set easily identified goals for yourself. It sounds easier than it is, and not always because you get tired and want to stop early.
If you can, you should also arrange to have someone assisting you, at least at first. A personal trainer might be a good investment, but a friend who can cheer you on, work beside you, or caution you to slow down can be an excellent source of support.
What Kind of Exercises are Recommended to Lose Fat When I Have Bad Knees?
There are several low-impact exercises that can be done even with bad knees. Including:
- Elliptical Trainer
- Low Resistance Circuit Training
- Body Weight Exercises (of certain kinds)
- Tai Chi
- Light Strength Training
All of these things are exercises you can do if you want to burn fat and avoid injury to your knees at the same time.
Swimming is an exercise that frequently involves a full-body workout, rather than focusing on one area. Each stroke requires coordination of both arms and legs, and the mechanics of breathing without swallowing water involve some abdominal control.
In addition, some strokes, such as the butterfly. require additional use of the muscles in the torso for the dolphin-like motion the stroke is known for.
Swimming In Terms of Exercise Planning:
- Low impact: The natural buoyancy reduces the stress on the boy overall.
- Good Cardio: Swimming doesn’t feel like much work unless you swim long distances or sprint, but even a measured stroke will increase your heart rate and breathing more than you’d expect.
- Consistency: It might be difficult if you don’t have access to an indoor pool, one of the downsides
- Start Slow: You can start with single laps in a gentle crawl stroke, backstroke or whatever your preferences.
- Clearly Measured Goals: You can set your goals in a number of laps, time to complete a set of laps, or time spent swimming without getting winded.
Alternatives Similar to Swimming:
There are some other water-based exercises with similar benefits if you have other concerns.
- Water Aerobics
2. Elliptical Trainer
The elliptical trainer offers an alternative to biking, especially if your balance isn’t the best, or if you prefer to use an upright posture as opposed to a sitting one.
The elliptical also offers a full body workout, as the upright handles are used in conjunction with the pedals.
Elliptical In Terms of Exercise Planning:
- Low Impact: The elliptical provides constant support and balance for the user, and prevents the continuous jarring impact of footfalls on pavement.
- Good Cardio: The full body workout gets your heart rate and respiration going, and involves all the muscles in the body for a solid workout.
- Consistency: Access to a local gym is one option, but you can also have an elliptical machine brought into your home for everyday access.
- Start Slow: You can set yourself both short intervals and slower speeds at the beginning, adding minutes and increasing the pace as you feel ready.
- Clearly Measured Goals: You can set these in terms of minutes, speed, and even distance traveled with the right equipment.
Alternatives Similar to Elliptical Training:
- HIIT Workouts
Bicycling is an excellent form of exercise that can be a solitary activity or a group one. It’s also easy to begin and you don’t need equipment.
The downside of bicycling, as opposed to other forms of low-impact exercise, is that it focuses more on the lower body than the upper body.
Bicycling In Terms of Exercise Planning:
- Low Impact: The bicycle usually involves sitting, which takes much of the weight off of the knees right there. It also involves almost no impacts on the ground, except for balancing at stops.
- Good Cardio: Bicycling requires a certain amount of speed and balance to maintain your pace and keep yourself upright unless you’re using a stationary bike. Even on a stationary, even a slower pace can build up your heart rate.
- Consistency: Biking is something you can do every day in good weather, and every day no matter what weather if you’ve got a stationary bike.
- Start Slow: You can start with 5 to 10 minutes, or a short distance, such as a half-mile.
- Clearly Measured Goals: You can start with a certain distance or a certain amount of time, and increase it in set increments as you meet each goal.
Alternatives to Bicycling:
- Elliptical Training
- Step Up
- HIIT Workouts
Walking may seem a bit like running, and therefore a little less low impact than other alternatives. It’s still a great way to work out, as long as you use caution.
Walking can also involve your whole body, by using your arms to counter-balance your steps.
Walking in Terms of Exercise Planning:
- Low Impact: It’s a low speed, so the impact is not as great as running, and more controlled.
- Good Cardio: The controlled speed still allows you to get your heart rate up as you move, particularly if you make an effort to include arm movements, similar to the ones power walkers frequently employ
- Consistency: Walking is something that can be done every day, even in bad weather. Around the neighborhood, around the house, around the store…there are endless opportunities for walking.
- Start Slow: Walking doesn’t have to be fast, and it doesn’t have to be far. Once around the block is a good start, or even once around the grocery store.
- Clearly Measured Goals: These can be set in terms of distance or minutes. One more time around the block. Five more minutes today than yesterday.
Alternatives For Walking:
Yoga might not seem like much of a cardio workout, but it involves full body motions, and a faster pace can build up a good sweat.
Even without a faster pace, yoga involves balance and coordination that uses your muscles and allows you to burn fat and tone muscle.
Yoga In Terms of Exercise Planning:
- Low Impact: Yoga involves smooth movements from one pose to the other. Some poses may seem stressful on the knees, but yoga allows for you to set your own pace, so you can settle into a pose little by little.
- Good Cardio: Yoga’s benefits cardio-wise are somewhat debated, but the resistance training it provides can act in much the same manner.
- Consistency: Yoga is something that can be practiced as often as you want, in the comfort of your own home, or in a group with a class. You can practice every day or once or twice a week if you like.
- Start Slow: There are beginner classes for yoga, including proper stretching and movements and poses. And you can take it one pose at a time.
- Clearly Measured Goals: One pose at a time, five more minutes one week than the previous week.
Alternatives For Yoga:
- Tai Chi
- Aerobic Exercises
- Body Weight Training
These aren’t the only exercises you can do for burning stubborn belly fat with bad knees, but they’re a good place to start. Pick whichever one feels the most comfortable for you, and get started losing weight, slimming down and feeling healthier…all without risking your joints.