In order to help maintain good health, both the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that you participate in a regular program of aerobic exercise. While providing an excellent way to keep your cardiovascular system healthy, some aerobic activities, such as running, jumping rope, stair climbing, cardio-kickboxing and high-impact aerobic dance, can be very stressful on your knees. There are, however, many safer alternatives.
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Cardio Exercises That Won't Hurt Your Knees
Swimming provides an excellent cardiovascular workout and, depending on how fast and how long you swim, you can control the intensity of your workout. Because your body is supported by water and the swimming motion does not require that your knees carry your full body weight, there is relatively little stress placed on your knees compared with other types of cardio exercises.
Cycling will also provide an excellent workout for your cardiovascular system and, again, by controlling the speed, incline and length of your workout, you can control the intensity of each exercise session. Because the action of your legs in cycling involves pushing pedals in a circular motion, it is much gentler on your knees than running or other forms of high impact aerobic activity. It makes little difference whether you cycle outdoors, on a stationary bicycle, or in an indoor cycling class.
Elliptical training machines, which simulate the motions of walking or climbing but eliminate the stress on your knees, can provide an excellent cardiovascular workout. Many elliptical training machines provide the added benefit of including upper body exercise if they are constructed with movable upper handles.