Best Cardio Machine For Bad Knees

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best cardio machine for bad knees
When Hips and Knees Matter, the Best Low Impact Cardio Machines

I've been researching the best low-impact cardio machines for improving fitness without putting a burden on my knees, hips, other joints, or my budget.

We'll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular low-impact cardio devices later.
It is more crucial than ever to keep moving. Being cooped up inside isn't fun, but neither are the health risks that come with being sedentary for lengthy periods of time. Fitness at home is also enjoyable.

When I was younger, I was overweight. It wasn't much, perhaps 10-16 pounds, but it was at the same time that my knees and hips began to hurt.

I began to run less and less. I started by making sure that my circular routes never took me too far away from safety. The knees will "go" at the farthest location from home, according to Murphy's law.

Excess weight is obviously a problem when it comes to weight-bearing joints. I couldn't run or jog for long periods of time, but I was able to reduce weight and increase my cardio fitness by doing low-impact cardio exercises.

Why Use Low-Intensity Cardio Machines?

Aging, age-related aches and pains, and more serious illnesses can all have an impact on how fit we wish to be for the rest of our lives. A mild case of arthritis may appear to be an excellent reason to sit about and do no exercise.

However, there are many different types of cardio machines available, and their designs can accommodate most people's fitness levels.

With any nagging persistent discomfort, you must assess the situation and ensure that you are not exacerbating the problem by overusing the affected area, but full inactivity is rarely recommended.

Isolating the soreness or pain so that the knee, ankle, back, or whatever is affected is immobilized may help things work by weakening the linked muscles.

If you're unsure about "what and how much," seek assistance from a medical practitioner.

"Limiting your motions can weaken muscles, worsening joint difficulties, and impair your posture, setting off a cascade of other problems," according to the Harvard Health Publishing website.

When you have joint problems, you must be careful not to overdo it.

Apart from that, any major injury that necessitates less effort would demotivate a long-term fitness or weight-loss program.

There are two actual possibilities for cardio machine exercise with joint issues: low impact machines and machines that can be adjusted for a lower impact.

We'll talk about a combination of these two in the next parts to provide you the best cardio workout options.

Remember to get medical help if you have serious joint problems, especially if you have pain frequently. A doctor can not only diagnose the condition, but also, ideally, recommend activities to help you overcome it.

Machines Elliptical

We'll begin with a cardio machine that has been intended to be low-impact. It's an elliptical, also known as a cross-trainer, if you're unfamiliar.

It's a device that mimics the motions of walking, jogging, or ascending stairs.

These activities are accomplished without putting as much strain on your knees as if you were walking or running normally.

Advantages of elliptical machines
While it isn't always as straightforward as "running will damage your knees," it is undeniably stressful for them over time. Furthermore, if you have arthritis, running will aggravate it. Running might also aggravate injuries.

When the elliptical was first introduced in the 1990s, it was hailed as a lifesaver for wounded athletes.

The machine has a lot of benefits.

It includes handles that can be used in conjunction with the pedals to create an upper and lower body workout. These are pumped back and forth as you move your feet back and forth but in opposite directions.

The feet and thus the legs are driven in a circular motion in some designs. These irritate me. Although I'm sure they still provide a terrific cardio workout, they feel clunky and rhythmical.

A decent elliptical exercise machine's rhythmic character makes it a relaxing approach to get in shape at home.

There are center handles if you don't want to use the movable arm grips. The huge pedals, which resemble buckets, also aid in balance.

The elliptical or cross-trainer, aside from the most basic equipment, will feature a sort of resistance to put you to the test. That resistance becomes part of the workout's built-in plans, which add variety.

Although it may appear intimidating at first, once you get on and start slowly, the elliptical gives you a really secure sensation, especially since it is self-driven and has no motor.

This means there are fewer things that can go wrong, and the machine should last longer. Those with motors and other sophisticated moving parts have more.
best cardio machine for bad knees

Disadvantages of elliptical machines

However, the elliptical isn't perfect. If you're like me and enjoy running and want to get the benefits, the elliptical isn't a perfect substitute.

It's similar to running or jogging, but you won't get the same level of muscle engagement. As far as low-impact cardio machines go, the treadmill would be your first choice if you want to get as near to running as possible without the hassles of the outdoors.

The elliptical, like any other fitness cardio equipment, has a fixed movement of its motions. There is minimal variety of movement other than the legs and arms going back and forth while being anchored by the feet in pedals.

You should also keep in mind that if you have tendon problems like patellar tendinitis, an elliptical workout may need to be done slowly at first. If you have this problem, take a look at the low-impact machines listed below.

It's large equipment that can be costly.

Summary of elliptical machines

If you can't run because the impact of your feet on any surface hurts your joints, an elliptical exercise machine is a great option and possibly the closest thing you can come to a no-impact equipment.

I used to believe that this was a poor second to the treadmill for obtaining a run-like workout or any intense cardio, but that opinion has changed over time. It can provide an excellent cardio workout while also activating a vast variety of muscle groups.

When I had to cut back on my running due to ankle and hip discomfort, I used the elliptical at the gym to burn off some energy, and it was quite beneficial.

I kept the weight off, stayed in shape, and not only did my joints stabilize, but I'm confident they've improved – though I won't put them to the test with long-distance running.

Although running (outdoors) can be difficult, you can push yourself on the elliptical machine.

There's a reason I put this machine at the top of my list—the it's king of cardio machines for folks who can't run like they used to because of joint problems.

Not convinced? Do you find walking or running tedious? Continue reading for more options.

Recumbent Exercise Bike / Indoor Exercise Bike

I'm giving you two varieties of the same machine for the price of one. An exercise bike, often known as a stationary bike, is an upright machine with a "bike-shaped design" that simulates pedaling without really going anywhere.

Recumbent bikes are less frequent on the road, but they are more common at gyms and at home.

You sit lower than on a typical exercise bike, with your bum parallel to the floor, and you pedal away and back, rather than up and down, as on an upright bike.

The seat on a recumbent bike features a backrest, and the pedals are positioned forward. This means you will have complete back support.

The cycle trainer, which is a frame that attaches into an existing standard outdoor bicycle and has the driving wheel on rollers, is another sort of indoor bike workout.

This is ideal for more advanced riders who wish to train on their familiar bike setups indoors. It was also a lot of fun for us casual riders.

Advantages of an indoor exercise bike

Cycling outside is generally a good type of joint workout. It has a lower impact than other aerobic workouts like jogging, and you may be able to undertake it even if you have minor problems.

However, decent bikes are costly, the exercise is weather-dependent, and you may not be able to ride a typical bike at all.

Indoor bikes usually come with pre-programmed or bespoke exercises that may be tailored to the rider's ability and increased in intensity as they get fitter.

Immersive apps that create a virtual landscape for your endeavors and group classes to follow along to with online coaching are two examples of how you may raise the enjoyment and hence motivation with the correct technology these days.

Spin bikes are frequently associated with these apps, and many of them, such as Peleton and Zwift, are now subscription-based. They are frequently used at home or in group lessons, both inside and outside.

If you have trouble exercising and find a standard exercise bike difficult to use, you can try a recumbent exercise bike. It must be stated, however, that some people enjoy the recumbent position.

Personally, I don't think so, because to achieve the same momentum as cycling upright, your upper legs will be performing almost all of the work. In a typical position, the increased effort is distributed evenly throughout the upper body. You can also stand, which I enjoy doing.

The recumbent's appropriate seat, with its backrest, makes cycling much more pleasant — it's a proper seat, so you can forget about butt discomfort from those hard thin leather strips.

If you have back problems, the seating position with backrest and sometimes armrests provides good support.

Recumbent exercise bikes are even better for your knees than upright exercise bikes because the machine bears your entire weight rather than your legs and knees.

The recumbent bike is open, which means you mount it like a seat and it is substantial enough to grasp on to. This is especially useful for folks who are less mobile.
It's the most convenient machine you can acquire for reducing stress on your body.

An indoor exercise bike has few drawbacks.
Get a normal exercise bike if you have mild knee or hip problems but feel capable of cycling. Get a recumbent bike if your difficulties are more serious and your knees can't tolerate much more than little pressure.

In conclusion, exercise bikes

So, if you're looking for a gadget to use indoors, an exercise bike is a terrific choice. You're not putting a lot of strain on your knees, and unlike an outside cycle, you can adjust the intensity to make it easier. Reduce the intensity to even lower the pressure.
The recumbent is a larger fitness equipment on average than the upright cycle, which might have a compact footprint, thus space may be an issue.

Machines for rowing

Rowing is a low-impact, low-stress sport that involves a natural rhythmic action.

One of my favorite cardio devices is the indoor rower. It's enjoyable after you get over the feeling of having your feet trapped. In fact, for the most efficient action, ensure sure your feet are securely fastened.

I avoided it for a long time because I was afraid it would be harmful for my back, but if done correctly, it shouldn't be a problem unless there are underlying concerns. However, if you are doubtful, always consult your physician.

It's critical to maintain proper form. Maintain a straight spine, open your chest, and engage your abdominal muscles. To avoid lower back pain, try some strengthening exercises to tighten up those abs and take it easy at first.

If you're looking for the greatest indoor rowing machines, the Concept2 is widely regarded as the ideal option for everyone from Olympic athletes to home users. One of their models may be found in gyms all around the country. The Vermont-based company has been in business since 1976, and the equipment are still built there. Hurrah!
best cardio machine for bad knees

Rowing machine advantages

An indoor rower can help you increase your cardio fitness while sitting down because it's such a low-impact sport.

Rowing is beneficial for joints since it doesn't exert too much pressure on the knees (assuming proper form), but rather works the muscles around the knees, making it great for post-surgery recovery.

It works the large muscle groups of the hamstrings, glutes, mid to upper back, biceps, shoulders, and abdominals. This may be a fantastic full-body workout.

These days, there are some really unique computers on the market. They have the ability to transform a living area into a sculpture. Take a look at this one, which uses water as resistance instead of air. They look to be becoming increasingly popular.

The hamstrings, glutes, mid to upper back, biceps, shoulders, and abdominals are all worked out on this machine. This is a fantastic full-body exercise.

These days, there are a lot of interesting machines on the market. They have the ability to transform a room into a sculpture. Take a look at this one, where the resistance is provided by water rather than air. They appear to be gaining a following.

I haven't tried a "water" rowing machine yet, so I can't comment on how it works. They do, however, appear to be cool, and prices are decreasing. Above is a GOROWINGO rower that is less expensive than similar quality rowing equipment.

disadvantages of rowing machines

If you can utilize a rowing machine, it will be greatly dependent on your joint concerns; some can be improved by rowing, while others can be made worse. The elliptical may be a better option for people who have more serious knee problems.

Although indoor rowers aren't as large as treadmills, they still demand a significant amount of space. Of course, a garage gym or room would be excellent.

Noise can also be an issue. It's either the pee-inducing sound of rushing water or the whooshing of air. However, the higher-quality rowers produce less noise.

Summary of rowing machines
On a rowing machine, the most crucial thing to attain is perfect form. See how to use a rowing machine properly above.

When using a home version, you may not be sure if you're doing it correctly, so start slowly and develop those abs. This might be a little excessive.

Although indoor rowers are not as large as treadmills, they nonetheless demand a significant amount of space. Of course, having a garage gym or space is excellent.

Noise is another potential issue. The sound of flowing water or the whooshing of air. Rowers of higher quality, on the other hand, produce less noise.

Summary of rowing machine

On a rowing machine, good form is the most crucial goal to achieve. How to use a rowing machine correctly is described above.

When using a home version, you may not be sure if you're doing it correctly, so begin slowly and strengthen your abs. This could be excessive...

Machine for Stairs

The stair machine is also known as a stair climber, stair stepper, step mill, Jacob's ladder, and Stairmaster, which is a brand name. That was a word I had to look up. In this case, the stair machine, a brand name that has been synonymous with the object.

The stairs grow easier or more difficult to press down with your body weight as the intensity is adjusted.

Advantages of a stairlift

If you're allowed permission to use this machine, using proper form and footwear will substantially improve your experience. In fact, not wearing the proper shoes for any workout might lead to knee problems. So, before engaging in any activity, make sure you have the proper footwear.

As you elevate and position your feet, stair climbing is a very low-impact sport.

Stair machines are also excellent for toning the lower body, particularly the thighs and glutes. The stair machine is an excellent choice if those are the areas you truly want to work on.

This is how they seem. This is a Stairmaster step mill. It's quite pricey and takes up a lot of space. If you're preparing for the Empire State Building Run-Up, it's ideal. Something I aspire to do in the future.

If necessary, the speed of stair machines can be increased by lowering the resistance, resulting in an HIIT. There are plenty additional alternatives you can try, such as taking two stairs at once.

Disadvantages of stair machines

Back pain can also be caused by slouching or poor posture while using the stair machine. You've probably been advised to walk and stand with your back straight at some time in your life, so do the same on the stair machine.

The stair machine is great for toning your lower body, particularly your thighs and glutes. There is some ab muscle activation as well, although the equipment is quite limited.

Consider the Sunny Health mini-stepper with resistance bands, which aims to target identical muscle regions as larger model counterparts while also providing an upper-body workout. I like it. We haven't put this machine through its paces yet, but it appears to be a fantastic idea.

Summary of stair machines

How this affects your joint troubles, like the rowing machine, depends on what the problem is. If you have osteoarthritis, you will benefit from strengthening your knees, which stair climbing can help with. If you have hip pain or bursitis, you should avoid it or at least consult your doctor.

Consult a specialist if your pain is chronic, you have a degenerative condition, or you're unsure. However, like the other devices we've looked at, it delivers a low-impact activity that stimulates bone cell development and can help with bone density, which naturally falls as we get older.
best cardio machine for bad knees


Here's a hot topic: how can a treadmill possible be helpful for your knees and hips? It's running, and it's on a hard surface, no less! Listen to me out, sort of.

Treadmill advantages
Treadmills, for starters, give a lower-impact workout than running outside. You also don't have to run on a treadmill, which is an important factor to remember.

Why don't you slow down and take a walk? Maintain a steady intensity, slow down the speed, and go for a brisk walk on your treadmill—the machine will maintain the terrain even, and you'll be in complete control.

To decrease the hammering effect of jogging outside, the better treadmills have "give" and a spring in the belt.

We've compiled a list of the finest treadmills for seniors and reviewed them.

This makes them perfect for runners who need to recover from an injury or who want to increase their weekly mileage without the high impact of running outside all of the time.

They are safe because they have long grips that envelop the runner/walker, but they should only be used for getting on and off and as a last resort for a more effective workout.

I remember sprinting on one in a gym once and getting too far back on the belt (bored) when my heels were clipped. Thankfully, I grabbed the grips to avoid colliding with the belt.

You can watch a favorite box set while using a runner or walking machine, which will improve your posture.

Disadvantages of treadmills

Treadmills aren't the best machine for joint problems, especially knee problems, and you should avoid them if your condition is severe. If your joint problems are minor, you're recovering from an injury, or a doctor says you can, a treadmill isn't out of the question.

To be honest, running or walking inside might be tedious.

Treadmill machines are large (although some fold up) and costly, and walking outside is a low-impact activity, so I prefer to get outside, especially if the weather is nice.

Summary of Treadmills

A treadmill's belt is softer than the ground, and you can get machines with additional padding to reduce shock even further. You should also seek for treadmills that are longer and wider so that your natural stride may be accommodated.

If you stay closer to the middle of the treadmill belt rather than rigidly at the front, you can better use your natural stride. This is something that many people do without thinking.

Other low-impact cardio apparatus

There are smaller gadgets and low-impact equipment that you may use in addition to traditional cardio machines to help you get active, get fit, and remain healthy without putting strain on your joints.

Dumbbell training with free weights are excellent for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, you receive a full range of motion and may tailor your workout to your abilities.
You can obtain an excellent aerobic exercise by using lower weights and more repetitive activities.

Resistance bands are an excellent tool for increasing flexibility. As I previously stated, flexibility is essential for strong joints, and these workouts can help joints recover faster.

Resistance bands serve to make your stretching routine more challenging by adding resistance.
Resistance bands are something I've only recently discovered. The first ones I used snapped, which could have been due to friction. That turned me off for a while, but the newer ones are different (and better). I believe they are a well-kept secret for a variety of exercise activities.

They fall under the category of strengthening and resistance exercise rather than cardio, but they may be done with minimal force and many reps utilizing resistance bands.

Using any of these tools, as well as one or more cardio machines, will help you grow fitter and healthier more quickly.

Last Word

If you were seeking for a low impact cardio machine, I hope this post helped you find one. One that is as gentle as possible on the knees, hips, and ankles. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: always get medical advice before beginning any workout program, especially if you have joint pain or an injury.

Rowing machines cause recurrent hinging at the base of the back, which might aggravate a back issue. It has the potential to improve smaller muscle groups and serve as a restorative exercise. If you have a degenerative knee disease, the stair machine may be too much for you - yet I had no choice. Knowing your body is beneficial when using a cardio equipment, whether low impact or not.

Remember, in addition to using these equipment, you can undertake additional cardio activities to improve your joints. When it comes to becoming in shape through cardio activities, flexibility exercises are extremely beneficial.

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