When you know that you’ve got bad knees, you quickly learn that not all exercises are created equal. While doing light yard work might be OK for you, it could also send your knees into a flare up frenzy that will hurt for at least a week. So, the question now is, “What exercises are good to do when you have bad knees?”
It’s commonly said that using ellipticals over treadmills is one of the best choices. Is an elliptical good for bad knees, or is it just less bad for them? Let’s look at which exercise equipment is safest to use for people with bad knees and how you can figure out what is the best option for your particular situation.
Before we get into any specific advice, it’s important that we mention that everybody’s body is going to be different. While some people will find that using an elliptical is the best on their knees, another person might find the elliptical too painful even to use.
The simple fact of the matter is that every knee injury is different. The best way to figure out what is OK for your knees is to first talk to your doctor or physical therapist. Once you have an idea of what they recommend you try to use, start slowly on each recommended machine until you figure out what causes immediate pain, what causes residual pain, and what doesn’t cause pain at all.
Finding the perfect workout when you have bad knees will take some time. The following advice is meant to help you save time during that process.
Three Reasons They Elliptical Machine Is Good for Bad Knees
Let’s start off by answering the main question you had today, which is, “Is an elliptical good for bad knees?”
Generally speaking, the answer is “Yes!” The elliptical is one of the types of exercise equipment that is most recommended for those with bad knees. Why is it that so many people find the elliptical to be beneficial for their aching knees?
1. Strengthens Muscles around Knees
The first reason that ellipticals are often recommended for those with bad knees is that the elliptical helps to focus the workout on your quads, hamstrings, and ankles. Building these muscles helps protect knees from any further injury.
Additionally, the way that the machine is laid out actually prevents you from twisting your legs while you work out, so the energy is focused into your heels and not into twisting. Twisting motions can cause further damage to knee cartilage.
Finally, this type of workout increases the blood flow in the cartilage around your knees. This increased flow promotes healthy knee function in your joint which can help you feel great.
2. Less Impact
The elliptical is known as a low-impact exercise machine. Generally, low-impact machines put less stress on your joints and help you focus that energy into specific muscle growth rather than it being released through your joints. When it comes to the elliptical, your energy is pushed into your heels as opposed to your knees.
When you run or jog on a treadmill, you put some level of impact on your knees because you have to stabilize yourself every single time you take a step. When using an elliptical, your legs never pick up off the steps. This type of closed-circuit motion takes the stress out of your knees and other joints that carry your weight.
3. Allows for Recovery
The final reason that many people find the elliptical to be an excellent choice when dealing with injured or bad knees is that it can actually help to promote faster recovery. That’s right! If you had knee surgery or a knee injury that is in the healing process, gradually including the elliptical into your healing process can help ensure that you heal up quickly and correctly.
Ellipticals are safe to use (with doctor approval!) after an injury because they are so low-impact and can focus pressure away from the injury while still encouraging the muscles to grow stronger. Additionally, working the legs out with an elliptical increases blood flow. More blood flow in the region helps injuries heal more rapidly.
Treadmill vs. Elliptical Machines
Most physical therapists agree that the elliptical is often a great alternative to the treadmill for those who have knee problems. Since there is less impact throughout the workout when using an elliptical, the knees are not put through as much stress.
Some people say that the elliptical isn’t as challenging as the treadmill, but that simply isn’t true. You can increase resistance on the elliptical to engage your legs more just as you can change the incline on a treadmill. No matter which you choose to workout with, you can give yourself a good challenge.
As always though, the real answer to which one is better will depend on your specific situation. Though most people will find that the elliptical is more comfortable on their knees, others still stick to the treadmill without injury.
Remember Your Limits
Despite the fact that most people with bad knees will be capable of doing an elliptical workout, it is important to remember that you may not yet be ready to use this exercise equipment. If you feel any sharp or continuous pain while using the elliptical, stop using it and consult a doctor about what the problem might be.
The doctor or physical therapist can recommend how long you should workout and how to build up some additional strength to make it possible to use an elliptical without any risk of injury.
Try an Elliptical Today!
Is an elliptical good for bad knees? Absolutely! If you have a knee injury and you’ve never tried working out on an elliptical before because you were afraid it would hurt as much as a treadmill did, now is the time to give it a go.
Working out on an elliptical machine can help your legs grow stronger, protect your knees from future injuries, and even help you heal faster from an old injury. Overall, ellipticals are a great way to work out your knees without putting too much stress on them.