Love cardio but hate the toll it takes on your knees? There are plenty of heart-pumping workouts which are perfect for sensitive patellas.
All of that pavement pounding and treadmill trekking can leave our knees feeling a little on the ropey side. These essential joints absorb a lot of the shock that resonates from our feet as we strike the ground. And when we strike it with force (especially when running) all of those jolts can really start to wear down our knees.
These parts of our body are also especially accident prone and, as most people who have sustained a knee injury will know, if you’ve damaged your knee in the past, it’s all too easy to do it again. An awkward step or an insufficient warm up could be all it takes to knock you off your feet for another recovery period. Not ideal when you love getting in that cardio!
But running isn’t the only cardio worth your sweat and effort. In fact there are plenty of very valuable forms of cardiovascular exercise which put your knees under no pressure whatsoever. Why not give these three a go?
The classic no- or low-impact cardio choice – swimming might not be everybody’s cup of tea (the repetitive lengths and hassle of changing can put some fitness lovers off), but if you want to get that heart rate up without damaging your body, swimming is a fantastic option. But don’t plump for a gentle breaststroke. You need to be diving in with a fast-paced front crawl to really get your blood pumping.
Your knees might be active while you’re cycling but if your seat is positioned correctly (your leg should be fully extended when your pedal is at its lowest position), they should not be under excessive pressure. Stick to flat terrain to be extra cautious. If you find swimming boring, cycling allows you to get out and about, developing your own routes, seeing new places and really getting somewhere under your own steam.
By keeping your feet in the pedals at all times, your knees absorb very little shock when you’re using an elliptical machine, making it a fantastic alternative to treadmills for the gym bunnies amongst us.
Do you find that running has a negative effect on your knees? What types of calorie-torching, knee-friendly exercise do you prefer? Have your say below