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What are the best cardio exercises for people with knee injuries?

Posted by Luwella R.

My mother was recently diagnosed with hypertension at age 53. We know that the best way for her to manage her blood pressure is definitely to exercise or do cardio workouts but the problem is that she had injured her knee last year (bursitis) and still has much pain even when having short walks. She's overweight and has to lose at least half of the excess weight to prevent future complications. She's been dieting but cutting out on calorie intake does not guarantee any improvement on her general health/condition. So we'd love to learn what options she has given the said limitations.
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Hello Luwella,First, I'll say that I think it's awesome that you're trying to help your mom get healthy.  I have my mom as a client when she visits and it's a lot of fun for both of us to exercise together.I would hope that she has seen a physical therapist for her knee injury.  If not, I think that seeing a therapist and getting advice from them is a good option.  As a physical therapist, I can say that it's just so much easier to give advice when you can see someone and do an evaluation in person.Having said that, swimming is a great low impact form of aerobic exercise.  Depending on the nature of the bursitis, biking may also be a good option.Whenever someone has joint problems it will limit how hard they can exercise, but slow and steady wind the race.  Do you best to help you mom stay consistent, and try to have her focus on creating healthy habits and changing her lifestyle.Physical Therapy, swimming, and biking.Hope that helps.


It's great that you're helping out your mom.  I actually have a knee injury (hyperextension) that requires a brace for long periods of walking or standing, so I sympathize.  I also remember how much more my knees hurt when I weighed more.  

First, take heart in knowing that as she loses weight, her knee pain will likely decrease.  If she needs to go to physical therapy, then they will be able to give her exercises to strengthen the muscles around her knee -- that is very important.  If she is not in physical therapy, send me a message and I can recommend some strength exercises (I'm also a certified personal trainer).  

Back to your question about cardio.  Charles is right in pointing out that swimming is an excellent alternative to running and walking.  That also includes other forms of aqua aerobics that she might like.  Your mother may also want to try the elliptical machine at the gym (if she can go to a gym).  That is probably the best cardio machine for people who want/need low impact on their joints.  The good thing is that she can still get a great cardio workout on the elliptical.  Try starting out with 5-10 minutes 3 days per week.  As she gets stronger, take the time up steadily until she can go for 30 minutes.

As always, if she experiences any pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath, then she should stop immediately.

I hope this helps.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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