Best Low-Impact Cardio Exercises

Posted on April 27, 2017


Exercise is important to staying healthy and maintaining a desirable weight, but just how are you supposed to exercise when you have knee problems that greatly limit what you can do? While it’s true that knees can make high-impact exercises painful and difficult, this doesn’t mean that those challenged in this manner still can’t get the workout they want or need – they just need to go about things differently.

Here are three low-impact activities and exercises that individuals with poor knees can do to stay fit.


While walking may not be as high intensity as you’d like, it’s still a low- to moderate-impact activity that puts minimal strain on the knees. Just be sure that you’re wearing comfortable, supportive shoes and that you’re walking on a route that’s relatively flat and smooth. To get the most out of your walk, do so at a moderate pace and gradually extend the lengths of your walk as your legs grow stronger. Eventually, you may even be able to speed walk and select more challenging routes to take.


Unlike walking, swimming doesn’t put minimal strain on the knees – it puts zero strain on them! The buoyancy of water will support your weight, thereby allowing you to swim and participate in water aerobics without putting any stress on your knees. So hop in the water and swim for as long as you’d like, as water-based workouts are an ideal activity from those who experience joint pain without the worry about over-doing it.


Training on the elliptical doesn’t put zero pressure on the knee joints like swimming does, however, this activity is low-impact and can give you a much better cardiovascular workout than walking does. Just be sure to pace yourself at first so that you don’t overdo it. Then, just as we suggested for walking, as your leg strength improves, you can increase your time spent exercising on the elliptical.

Like we noted in the opening, just because you have bad knees doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit – whether it’s at your home or from one of our PBMC Health Long Island physical therapy centers. Contact us today for more information