5 Joint-Friendly, Low-Impact Exercises for People with Bad Knees

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

It’s hard to stay fit when you have bad knees! The solution: low-impact exercises. Low-impact exercises are the best for those who are overweight, those recovering from an injury, or folks who suffer from chronic conditions like gout or arthritis.

Low-impact exercises are classified as such if one foot has to be in contact with the ground or if movements are supported by a machine or by water. This means when it comes to low-impact exercises, the options are endless. Below are great low-impact exercises to help you get started:


No fancy gym equipment here; walking for at least 45 minutes burns off at least 181 calories. What makes walking such an amazing workout is it engages all major muscle groups. If you have bad knees, start off with 10-minute walks every day and then gradually add 10% more each week. You can start alternating between fast and slow walking to torch more calories. To add resistance and tone your legs progressively, try walking uphill or up a staircase.


Swimming is one of the best low-impact exercise there is! It engages virtually all muscle groups in the body, toning the upper body and building endurance and strength at the same time. Even better, swimming does not discriminate. Whether you’re recovering from an injury or you’re overweight, you can swim and you won’t feel any pain on the joints. Swimming at a slow pace will burn off 333 calories in 45 minutes.

Elliptical Trainer

A moderate pace in an elliptical trainer will burn off 333 calories in under 45 minutes. An elliptical trainer provides zero impact; it’s a painless, user-friendly machine that’s perfect for both newbies and fitness experts alike. An elliptical trainer will engage your upper body muscles, targeting stored fat and burning them off efficiently. The result is a set of nicely toned limbs. You can increase burning off of calories by leaning forward into the machine’s arm rest.

In-Line Skating

In-line skating burns as much as 572 calories in under 45 minutes! It’s a great low-impact exercise because once you learn how to skate, it boosts the metabolic rate for several hours after every workout while also toning the legs. When skating, always wear protective gears and start in an area with a flat surface. Streets and sidewalks tend to have cracks and bumps and these are hard on the knees. You can start in-line skating on a nearby parking lot instead. Take short strides and crouch down so the center of gravity is close to the ground. You can then try uphill and repeat the circuit once you get the hang of it.


If you love group exercises, then give Zumba a try! This exercise burns off 250 calories for 45 minutes and it’s easy on the knees. Don’t let the simple dance moves fool you; this is a very rigorous workout masquerading as a fun class. Zumba is perfect for people who tend to fall off the exercise wagon often. When you start developing rapport with your group, you’re less likely to miss a class.

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