What are some good, equipment-free cardio exercises I can do with a bad knee?
July 10, 2010 6:58 AM   Subscribe

What are some good, equipment-free cardio exercises I can do with a bad knee?

I've been jogging lately, but a bum knee has me sidelined in fear of doing more permanent damage. (I have an appointment for the doctor.) It really only hurts in high-impact situations, like running/jogging. Walking and other movements are fine.

What are some good, equipment-free cardio exercises I can do with a bad knee? I enjoy jogging because I don't need any crazy equipment, or an expensive gym membership. I have no access to a pool.
posted by wordsmith to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I guess it depends on what this does for your knee and whether you consider this to be equipment, but if you want to make the business of walking harder, you can drag car tires behind you. You'd need to rig a form of harness, and you can adjust the intensity by either walking more quickly, walking up a hill or adding another tire behind the one you've already got.

Assuming you don't see a skipping rope as equipment, skipping is another one.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:46 AM on July 10, 2010

Well, biking is low impact but requires a piece of equipment obviously. Bikes can be bought pretty inexpensively, though.
posted by dfriedman at 7:49 AM on July 10, 2010

My friend, if it's really a bad pain, just wait until the doc sees it. You could be doing more damage and as nice as the people are at your local PT, I'm sure you don't want to visit them, regularly.
posted by alex_skazat at 9:02 AM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Go biking or swimming.
posted by abbat at 9:28 AM on July 10, 2010

I found that all my joint, knee, back, and other random pains or problems went away when I increased my strength\muscle mass. I know you said no gym, whatever, but something to think about if you keep having similar problems.

Where exactly does it hurt? That almost sounds like ITBS (Iliotibial Tibial Band Syndrome) type symptoms which just gets better with rest.

You could do body weight circuits. Those can be set where they are low\no impact and will get your heart rate skyrocketing since there is no rest.
Here is an "easier" type one that I've done when I've had no weights.
Reps: 10 per exercise per circuit
Circuits: 5
Rest: 0
Body-Weight Squat (make sure you track your knees over your feet which are at a 30-degree angle and at shoulder width apart, this puts no stress on the knees)
Hand Walkout – from knees
Single-Leg Deadlift
Jumping Jack
Reverse Lunge – overhead reach
Pike Push-Up
Mountain Climber

If the jumping jacks are too hard on the knee you could take them out. They are mostly used as a rest from the push-ups until the pike push-ups while still keeping your heart rate up. You can google\youtube any of the moves you don't recognize.
posted by zephyr_words at 9:40 AM on July 10, 2010

I'd second swimming as well. But it does require "equipment" as in a pool, river, lake or ocean.

If not that, you may want to look at vigorous movement exercises you can do with your upper body- it'll be a little more effort to get your heartrate up, but it can be done. Martial arts movements, arm circles, etc. are all able to help get you cardio going.

The other thing to look at is "baby exercise". You know how babies lay on their backs and flail about? Now that you're older and actually have body mass, it can be quite an exercise to keep moving your arms and legs about while laying down. Be careful with the leg stuff, though, if you have any back issues. (I recommend this often to friends who are recovering from injuries). It can be as simple as doing bicycle motions with your legs and the circular punching motions you'd do with a speed bag for your arms.
posted by yeloson at 2:26 PM on July 10, 2010

Yoga, yoga, yoga. There are a variety of yoga methods that are easy on the body, consider Tai Chi for the elderly.
posted by penguingrl at 3:05 AM on July 11, 2010

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