8 January 2021

How to Exercise With Bad Knees to Lose Weight: Our Tips

Bad knees are a chronic problem. Over a fifth of all American adults report knee pain. This isn’t too surprising- with global obesity levels on the rise, it is to be expected. Carrying excess weight increases stress in all joints and can lead directly to conditions such as arthritis or osteoarthritis.

This leaves us with a conundrum. Losing weight will help to stop or ease knee pain. Whilst weight loss is more about eating appropriately than exercise, exercise still plays a crucial role in it. But how can you exercise with sore knees?

Should you exercise with bad knees?

Absolutely yes. Exercise can help you to maintain a healthy weight, gain muscle, improve mobility and, crucially, keep your joints healthy. The worry is that exercise will be painful with bad knees, or even that it will exacerbate existing pain or injury.

The reverse is true… or can be. The benefits of exercise should lead to a healthier, fitter you, with far less pain in your knees. Weight loss will take the pressure off, whilst the mobility gained through regular exercise will leave your knees looser and more mobile. Exercise can even have an analgesic effect, meaning less pain overall. But you need to do it right.

Exercise choice is crucial

The style of exercise you choose should reflect your knee pain and any other health complications. You don’t want to do anything that puts pressure into your knees, like running, squatting or jumping.

Luckily, there are plenty of forms of cardiovascular training that can be performed safely with bad knees, all of which will help you achieve the caloric deficit needed to lose weight. These include:


Swimming is about the best form of exercise you can perform with bad knees. It helps to build muscle and strengthen weak bones and joints, whilst burning through a lot of calories, aiding your perhaps much needed caloric deficit. It is also incredibly low impact, meaning no pressure on your knee joints.

Elliptical trainer cardio

Using an elliptical trainer at a moderate intensity can give you all the benefits of going for a jog or using a treadmill with hardly any of the associated knee stress. It’s a controlled and low impact way to burn calories and work on your cardiovascular health.


This won’t be an option for those with chronic knee pain. For everyone else, it’s a must. It is low impact, brings a great many health benefits, helps you to burn calories, and can be an incredibly relaxing, heart-warming experience.

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