Weight Loss NHS
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Keeping Fit with Bad Knees

Hello there,

Just a question for anyone out there who knows;

How can I exercise and keep fit without putting strain on my knees?

I've had bad knees for quite a long time now, but have always managed to be active, go to the gym, swim and dance around, since last year though I haven't been able to be as active as before because it causes me awful knee pain. I've been through the Dr's and now have a date for key hole surgery.



8 Replies

Hi if you go on you tube put in sitting down exercises there are some upper body exercises you can do sitting down alongside the you tube video might be worth a look.


Swimming is your best option for exercise without loading the knees. Even if you don't swim, there are aqua-aerobic classes in many towns, which are basically exercises done in the water.

Once you have had your surgery, invest in a couple of walking poles which will make your arms do some of the work, and take the load of the legs, for when you go walking in the countryside.


Hi Charli,

I just wanted to welcome you to the Weight Loss NHS forum. I can see that you've had some replies to your query about exercise and knee pain. I'm glad you have a date for your key hole surgery and I hope things go really well. Please do have a look at the Welcome Newbie thread - in the Pinned posts area (top right-hand-side of the homepage). I think DartmoorDumpling and Itsbab have given you some great suggestions re: potential exercises to try. I can't think of anything to add, except to wish you a great week ahead.

Lowcal :-)

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swimming is still the best plus if you go on you tube there are lots of videos on exercise with bad knee's I checked some out my self as my knee was in pain when doing lungers hope you get your knees done some and get back on the mend soon good luck with the exercise

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Nothing new to add to the excellent advice above, but as you lose weight and get fitter your knees will thank ypu 😊 Weight loss is more about food than exercise so concentrate on that initially 😊

Good luck

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Hi Charli-Robinson, I had a very similar situation to you and got it so wrong because I just wasn't thinking sensibly so I will spell it out, in the hope of taking you forward.

If no one has made it plain, lose as much weight as you can before your op. Not putting extra on like I did. Extra weight being carried really impacts on knees more than anywhere else so every lb off is a lb to the better. Losing even just 5% of any excess makes a big difference to knee health. It is perfectly possible to lose significant amounts of weight just through managing intake, it just takes longer without exercise. And we have to manage it more closely.

Do not push yourself to do any exercise. Listen to your body and stop the second before it is a strain. Do not say to yourself, I will just push through 2 more repeats. You do not want to hurt those knees any further.

If you can find any movements that do not hurt, but mobilise your knees, go for that. So just walking on level surfaces is probably the best way forward. No hills up or down. To get you started plan as many little 5/10 minute walks as you can in your day. If you still go to the gym, try the stationary bikes with low resistance and maybe the rowing machines if they don't cause your knees problems, could be good but try them gently and take your times up slowly. Stop immediately at any sign of discomfort. If the cycling works well, you could try it outside. But always remember when walking or cycling that you have to make it back to base again so don't push yourself hard to go further without factoring in the return journey.

If you are able to keep up your swimming, excellent as it moves the knee without putting weight on it. If that is a problem and you can't walk much outside, you can just walk up and down the swimming pool as the water supports your body weight and takes the pressure off your knees.

If all this is too much then keep the rest of your body exercised via specifically focused exercise as the others have suggested. Keeping your other muscles working well will reduce strain on your vulnerable ones.

Just to cheer you up, I had keyhole surgery on one knee and this was not the one that had been the worst, but I injured it doing Pilates (!). Getting lighter and properly fit has meant that I now have no problems with either knee. So it does work once the penny drops.

Best wishes with your planning and exercising and with your op.



Good luck with the surgery ...an arthroscopy I guess. I had the same procedure 2yrs ago aged 62.

Although it took a few months for my leg to strengthen fully, I was able to walk pain free and can now walk for miles . This, and a careful diet, enabled me to lose my excess two stone and keep it off... Best of luck with the surgery.


Hi Charli I'm sorry to hear you have painful knees. I can empathise with you as I suffered with osteoarthritis for about 10 years but I'm now the proud owner of brand new knees. Last week I completed a10k race for life and have another run a week on Sunday. It's only 5k so will be a doddle. I just want you to know there are solutions for people with problem knees. Don't give up hope, listen to your body and put faith in your surgeon. My fingers will be crossed for you. You will get through this and I am right behind you.

Hugs from me to you xx


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