health

7 Sports and Exercises for those with Arthritic Knees

Arthritic knees have less cartilage lining than normal which can lead to a swollen knee cap and a narrow space for your joints. These problems can cause stiffness and pain, limiting your activity. For those accustomed to high-impact sports or exercises, this can seem devastating. How will you achieve physical fulfillment if you can’t do what you are used to? While you may have to stop playing football or soccer, it doesn’t mean you can’t play any sports.

Doubles Tennis

Tennis can be hard on your joints as you run to hit the ball from every corner of the court, so those with arthritic knees are recommended to play doubles. This lessens the amount of running you need to do, and playing on a sprung or clay court will ease some pressure from your knees.

Walking

Walking helps to strengthen the muscles of your knees, and, if you walk outdoors, you can also benefit from fresh air. Walking can lead to running, though you shouldn’t plan on training for a full marathon. If you’d still like to compete in some kind of race, try a triathlon. Mixing cycling, running, and swimming would give you a well-rounded workout and would be better for your joints than strictly running.  

Swimming

If you have swum for exercise before, you know that it benefits your entire body. It works for each muscle group and helps you to increase your cardiovascular endurance. This endurance can help you in other workouts as well. Choose a stroke that doesn’t aggravate your joints and makes you feel comfortable. If you enjoy swimming, try different water exercises or join a water aerobics class.

Cycling

Cycling is a fun workout for both indoors and outdoors. It is easy to get into a relaxing rhythm or use a faster pace, all while getting in a nice workout. For those with arthritic knees, you may want to try a recumbent bike as opposed to upright stationery or outdoor bikes because recumbent bikes are less strenuous on your knees.

Yoga & Pilates

Both yoga and Pilates work to strengthen and stretch muscles, strong muscles can help support your joints. Do find classes that are focused on teaching you proper form. Yoga, especially, can increase your flexibility and help you relax and relieve stress. 

Golf

While golf can sometimes hurt your elbows and shoulders, those with arthritic knees can still enjoy the game. Golf exercises your arms and back, and if you are walking, it’ll work your heart and joints too. However, if your knees hurt after a few holes, tone it down or stop playing. Or use a cart between holes and pace while waiting for your turn.

Cross-Country Skiing

If you want an outdoor workout in the winter, cross-country skiing may be the perfect workout for you. While downhill skiing forces skiers to twist and turn their knees, cross-country keeps your knees fairly straight and still gives you a full-body workout. 

Though you may be accustomed to giving each sport or activity your “all,” you’ll want to discuss a healthy exercise routine with your doctor. Doctors like Dr. Aaron Altenburg can advise you on which exercises will be best for your joints and the level of commitment you can healthily dedicate to your workouts.

Exercising is vital to your health and can help strengthen your bones and the muscles around your joints. Exercising, even for those without arthritis, is beneficial to your sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, and improving your balance. Working out doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym, simply get a group together and go for a walk!

Do you have arthritis in your knees? Are you currently participating in a sports or exercise program for those with arthritic knees?

icecreamnstickyfingers

Christy has three children. She has over 22 years of parenting experience, including parenting as a young mom, a single parent, and dealing with chronic illness/pain. When she isn't writing, you can find her coloring, playing Candy Crush, and listening to Taylor Swift.

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14 Comments

  1. Keita Cosgrove says:

    After trying several treatments, I finally went to a care clinic where x-rays showed advanced Arthritis/OA. My condition worsened with severe pains and stiffness, so a friend introduced me to Herbal Health Point (ww w. herbalhealthpoint. c om) and their Arthritis Formula treatment protocol, I immediately started on the treatment, few weeks into the treatment the pain and stifness were completely gone and I had regained complete use of my leg. The treatment totally reversed my Arthritis condition, since I completed the treatment 11 months ago I have not had any symptom or pain

  2. My husband does have issues with his knees. He enjoys golf and I tell him he should walk more.

  3. These are some really good ideas it is amazing how much swimming can help a number of different conditions as the water holds you.

  4. These are helpful tips! My uncle is suffering from arthritic knees but he still managed to walk.

  5. Interesting. I hadn’t ever thought about sports and exercises for people with athritic knees, but this is an awesome resource! It’s great to have options to remain active, reagrdless of our body fighting at us.

  6. Swimming is wonderful! My mom can’t do most exercise, but she can do swimming and slow walking.

  7. a girlfriend of mine just had this and she was trying to figure out what to do to still stay active- ill def have her check your blog post out to help her

  8. Ruth I says:

    My Dad has arthritic knees and it is hard for him. I will share this with him so he still can enjoy.

  9. My knees started aching as I got older and doing deep water aerobics has really helped them not hurt. I love walking too. Great suggestions.

  10. This is a good list of activities. As we get older and arthritis sets in, we need to know things we can do to remain in good physical condition!

  11. It’s nice to see there are still some great sports and exercises out there. I know a few who have knee problems. I’ll have to make sure to mention this to them.

  12. These exercises also all apply to someone like me with acute plantar fasciitis in both feet. I also find that a flywheel rowing machine is great and low impact.

  13. Which type of yoga is the best for arthritic knees?

    1. I have heard that chair yoga is great for rheumatoid arthritis. Getting on the floor with knee arthritis would be difficult so it would be a great option.

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