Did you know that 15 million people in the US report severe joint pain related to arthritis? While regular physical activity is often encouraged to alleviate joint pain, build strength, and ease stiffness, some cardio exercises can worsen the symptoms of arthritis. High impact exercise, in particular, can damage the cartilage in the knee joints and hurt your knees. This article explains why people with joint pain should avoid certain high-intensity cardio exercises and the correct exercises one should practice to alleviate knee joint pain.

Cardio Exercises to Avoid 

Any type of cardio exercise that exerts repetitive motion strain on the knees or overloads them may hurt your knees. Such activities will not only speed up cartilage degeneration but also increase inflammation. The following are some of the exercises to avoid if you have joint pain:

  • Running, jumping rope, jogging, and any other type of high-impact aerobics that require both feet to be off the ground simultaneously.
  • Weightlifting that includes deep squatting and heavy loads.
  • High-impact sports that require you to stop and start suddenly, such as tennis, or exercises that involve jumping like basketball and plyometrics.

Cardio Exercises for Knee Pain 

Low-impact exercises that can help keep the knee joint stay mobile and strengthen the area are highly encouraged for people living with arthritis. The following are some of the exercises that give you the most benefits with the least aggravation of your joint pain:

Range of motion exercises: These exercises help relieve stiffness and enhance your ability to move joints through their full range of motion. Range of motion exercises includes raising your arms over your head and rolling your shoulders backward and forward.

Strengthening exercises: These exercises are designed to build strong muscles to support and protect your joints. An excellent example of such practice is weight training, which maintains or increases your muscle strength. It is recommended that you rest in between the workouts and take rest whenever your joints are swollen or painful.

Aerobic exercises: Aerobic exercises are crucial for overall fitness. They help control weight and improve your cardiovascular health while providing more stamina and energy. Examples of aerobic exercises to consider are walking, water aerobics, cycling, restorative yoga, and therapeutic exercises. Others include cycling on a stationary bike and tai chi to strengthen joints and ligaments.

Before starting any exercise program, you must understand what is within your limits and the level of exercise that will likely give you the best results without hurting your knee further. An effective way to ensure you are performing the activities mentioned above to promote knee health is by seeking the advice of a qualified professional, such as a physical therapist.

Tips to Protect Your Joints During a Workout 

  • Wear supportive footwear like orthotics to help protect joints. Consider going for custom-made orthotics specific to you for better relief and protection.
  • Walk on flat surfaces to prevent injury in the knee, hip, and ankle.
  • Start the exercises slowly and build up to an extended routine with time.
  • Avoid taking pain medication before exercises, as this will likely mask the injury.
  • Pay attention to posture and alignment.
  • Apply heat before you begin the exercise to relax your muscles and ease any pain. 
  • Apply ice for about 20 minutes after an exercise to reduce swelling and inflammation. 

Treat Knee Pain Once and For All with ViscoGen™

If you’ve been diagnosed with knee arthritis, the experts at ViscoGen™ are ready to help you achieve the level of activity and quality of life you deserve. Our non-surgical knee pain program is designed to help patients live pain-free. Contact us today to learn more.