If you have a pulled hamstring, you might think that getting cardio exercise is out of the question. However, there's no reason why you can't maintain your heart health and get the recommended 30 minutes of cardio, five times a week recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine — even with an injury. The key is to stick to low-impact cardio.
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One very-low-impact form of cardio you can do with a pulled hamstring is walking. The act of walking does cause some impact on your joints, you can walk slowly and carefully to avoid injuring your hamstring further. This won't necessarily give you the calorie-burning power of your typical workout, but walking around your neighborhood at a moderate pace is enough to keep your heart in shape.
Riding a bike or stationary bike is another way to get a cardiovascular workout with a pulled hamstring. This type of exercise can help you work up a real sweat without putting any strain on your hamstrings. Don't add resistance to the bike. Simply pedal at a moderate pace to burn calories and get a cardio workout.
Swimming is nearly a no-impact cardio exercise, making it perfect for performing with joint issues or injuries. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing cardio workouts in the water reduces the impact on your joints by 90 percent while still fully taxing your muscles and elevating your heart rate.
The elliptical trainer is another piece of equipment that produces little to no impact. Your feet remain on the pedals as you workout, so there's no impact of your feet lifting off and meeting a surface repeatedly. Plus, you can exercise at a vigorous pace and get your heart pumping without straining your pulled hamstring. Though you can add weighted resistance to an elliptical, you may not want to while you still have an active injury.