It is important for you to remember that you must not bend your knees excessively, even while performing these knee exercises. If your knees are being bent at an angle such that they are blocking the line of sight to your toes, then it means that they are being bent excessively. This puts a lot of extra pressure on the kneecap, and any injury or surgery that you have had on that kneecap is bound to get aggravated. Here are some of the best exercises for bad knees that you can carry out to ensure that your knees stay injury-free.
This is one of the best cardiovascular exercises, and the impact on the knees of a person is absolutely minimal. There is no risk of an accident or falling down as well, and it burns many calories. This is one of the most favorite tools for somebody with knee or joint problems.
Elliptical Trainer/Cross Trainer
This machine is a very effective and relatively safe way to work out the entire body, without putting a lot of strain on the knees. This machine is a mix of an exercise cycle and a treadmill and as your foot is never really lifted up from the pedal, there is very little, if any strain on the knees.
Like cycling, swimming, too, burns calories, strengthens muscles and provides low impact to the knee. It is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, and it provides many varied benefits at the same time.
There's nothing like taking a stroll in the park to relax your mind and it is also one of the simplest and most natural ways to burn some calories. Walking does not strain the knees as it does not involve any rigorous movement or jerking of the knee and is one of the safest ways to keep fit without worrying about any injury.
Other Helpful Exercises
To perform this exercise you must use a step bench or a staircase. What you need to do is place your left foot on top of the step, and use your calf muscles to push your body up. Slightly touch the step with your right foot, and then place the right foot back down immediately. Repeat this exercise with your right foot now. Remember to keep your knee straight and in line with your ankle.
Side-lying Leg Lifts
You need to lie on your left side, with your head resting in your left arm. Now slowly raise your right leg (which is parallel to the ground) up in the air, and then slowly lower it as well. Repeat this exercise for both legs as many times as you want.
To perform this exercise you must stand a few feet away from a chair or a bed. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and keep your knees straight. Now bend forward using your waist and hip until your forehead touches the chair or the bed. Use your hands to push yourself back to your original stance. Remember to keep your knees straight at all times, or else these cardio workouts will be rendered ineffective.
This is an exercise that is very popular for building up the calf muscles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and slowly raise both your heels off the ground simultaneously, so that you are now standing on your toes. Do not bend your knees, and carry out as many repetitions as you are comfortable with. You can also use a wall or a chair for balance.
Straight Leg Raises
Sit with your back against a wall or any other flat surface. Bend your right knee but keep your right foot firmly on the ground. Now slowly lift your left leg as high up off the ground as you can. Hold it there for a few seconds and then gently lower it back to the ground. Repeat this exercise for your right leg as well.
Lie flat on the ground on your back. Keep your left leg flat on the ground and stretch it as straight as possible. Now loop a towel under your right thigh or your right knee, and pull the leg towards you as far as you possibly can. Hold the leg in place for a few seconds before you release the towel, and then repeat this exercise with your other leg. It is widely accepted that this is one of the best cardio exercises for bad knees, and helps in strengthening the hamstring as well.
Short Arc Knee Extensions
The posture for this exercise is similar to that of the straight leg raises. Sit with your back against a wall or any other flat surface. Place a basketball under your left knee, and slowly lift it in the air while simultaneously straightening it. Lift it as high as possible and then gently lower it to the same position as before. Now repeat this exercise with the right knee.
Although they aren't really cardio exercises, pushups and pull-ups are great exercises to work the body without straining the knees and are all about exercising using your body weight.
The best cardio exercises are those that put the least strain on the knee joints and the kneecap, thus resulting in the least amount of knee pain. Any form of exercise or physical activity that puts strain on the knees will only be harmful in the long run, and great caution must be taken to avoid aggravating a bad knee further. So while the classic line from Rocky Balboa, "it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward", may sound real inspiring, you might want to stay down when your knee hurts if you want to have a chance of moving at all!