How to exercise when you have bad knees

Knee pain is a common ailment that touches, or will touch, most of us in the course of a lifetime. We need our knees to work properly to function or otherwise we wouldn’t be able to even walk. Having bad knees is greatly detrimental to our quality of life. However, this doesn’t’ mean that people with bad knees should give up exercise completely. Exercise is what keeps us healthy and when done properly, can even help get rid of knee pain completely.

Knee pain causes

One of the most common causes of knee pain is continual stress on the knee joints. Knees hold up the rest of the body. The knee joints are especially prone to injury when the weight of your whole body is larger than average. That’s why overweight and obese people tend to have bad knees – they put constant stress on their knees just by walking. This discourages them from even trying to exercise because the pain is simply too much. However, you can’t lose weight in a healthy way without any form of exercise so giving it up completely leads to further weight gain and even more stress on the knees.

Aging is another common cause of pain in the knee joints and materializes in the form of arthritis, i.e. inflammation in the joints. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are methods of relieving joint pain and one of them is actually exercise.

Exercise methods


Walking is the easiest method of incorporating exercise into your lifestyle. We should be walking for at least half an hour every day but not many people have time to do it. But if it’s your only form of exercise you get during the week, then you should really work hard to find time for walking in your schedule. It will allow you to gradually build up your stamina without putting too much strain on your knee joints.

Water exercise

Working out in a pool has many benefits that land-based exercise doesn’t. It actually burns more calories because water has more resistance than air so it is especially good for people who are trying to lose weight. Furthermore, less impact is put on your joints because the water supports your body as you move.


Depending on the severity of your knee problems, you might be able to even run. Start with short distances at first and if you feel like you can manage it, gradually increase the length of your runs. Here you can find the best running shoes for bad knees.

Benefits of exercise

Regular exercise, even low-intensity ones, keeps your joints flexible and makes the muscles around them stronger. It also helps you manage your weight to be at a healthy level. There are also many studies showing that exercise also has a positive effect on our mental health as well by improving our cognitive functions and memory.

However, if you suffer from bad knees remember not to overdo the exercise. If you ever feel the pain getting stronger or just plain unbearable, immediately stop exercising and consult your doctor. This probably means that you need to lower the intensity of your workouts.