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TOPIC: Cardio workout for a person with bad Knees & Back

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January 31, 2012 9:09 AM
What do you guys recommend as the best way to start a workout program to lose weight. I am 320lbs, I have REALLY bad knees and back that makes walking and running difficult. I also have no stamina. What do you recommend to get me started on a workout? Thanks.

January 31, 2012 9:11 AM
Just get moving. Walking would be a great start.
If you have access to a gym, an elliptical is a great cardio workout, second only to running, and much easier on the knees.
January 31, 2012 9:12 AM
January 31, 2012 9:14 AM


I was going to say this too. If you have access to a pool, water aerobics and swimming would be a great thing to do.
January 31, 2012 9:15 AM
That's me!!! Lol I use an elliptical that I bought on clearance for 70 (plus tax) it was a floor model of their cheapest one hehe works like a charm for my purposes though and it's at home!!
January 31, 2012 9:15 AM
Yes, walking and swimming are great ideas. If you are a bit more adventurous, beginning Zumba isn't all that bad. It gets easier with practice and it can be fun. Even at your size, I think you can benefit from a video like this and you can be careful with your knees.
January 31, 2012 9:18 AM
I also have bad knees. I searched the internet to find some great ideas. I have started to finally use my stationary bike, that way I can start out very light until I get my stamina and to a point where my knees feel okay. There isn't a lot of pressure going on the knees using a stationary bike or elliptical. If you don't have access to a the internet for ideas for exercises you could do at home. Also, I'm not sure if you've had any physical therapy before for your knees but I still have the exercises my PT gave me to strengthen my leg muscles so I've gone back to doing those as well. Just start out having small goals and you will feel better about your knees.
January 31, 2012 9:18 AM
First, are your bad knees and back the result of physical damage to your joints/muscles? If they are, see a doctor. If not, then walk. And Lots of it. And get a good pair of shoes. Go to a good running shop and get yourself fitted (even if you're just walking, a good pair of shoes makes all the difference).

Once you've walked and built up your stamina, start walking faster and work towards into a jog.

Also realize that because you have knee and back issues there will be pain and you will have to have the discipline to suffer through some pain.
January 31, 2012 9:21 AM
do you have access to a pool? walking in water was one of my rehab therapies after knees surgery years ago ... it was SO much better on my joints and back. as you get more fit, i'd encourage you to give water aerobics a try, too ... it's a great cardio workout. If you can get to a gym, a recumbent bike is pretty swell, too.

good for you with the whole "i'm gonna get moving" thing! if it helps, i was only about 25 lbs. lighter than you when i started this journey almost a year ago. the first walk i took -- it was around 2 blocks in my neighborhood -- about did me in. i ached. i was sucking oxygen big time. i was seriously whipped.

but the aches went away and my stamina improved with every walk. i'd try to go just a little further each time. sometimes that meant only 10 more steps, but eventually, it became another quarter mile. i now walk 2-3 miles 2-3 days a week. and i've done as much as 8 miles in one walk ... up and down some dandy hills (i didn't consider them dandy at the time, you understand :) -- and without a break.

so good for you. just start. it's gonna suck for a while, and sometimes it will suck more than others. but it *will* get easier over time, and i *promise* you will see results. forward we go!
January 31, 2012 9:22 AM
I have bad knees too and I do walking and stationary bike. Set yourself a time goal and stick to it. Make sure the goal is realistic to YOU because you don't want to be unrealistic and discourage yourself. When you become used to that time you can increase how long you exercise for.

Feel free to add me as a friend. :)
January 31, 2012 9:39 AM
Someone suggested PT exercises. They are GREAT! Stationary (sp?) bike is also fantastic. I'm working the knee replacement thing right now and its worked wonders for me. The bike torches some calories and keeps your joints sliding nicely and the PT exercises help to strengthen your legs and hips. Do them lying on the bed! That saves your from having to get down on the floor and then get back up! I started at 317 a couple years ago and have been unable to do vigorous execise most of that time. It works if you stick with the calorie goals and the a bit of exercise. Good luck!

ETA: Look on the web for knee rehab or strengthening exercises. There should be some lying down, some standing, and a few done in a chair. Resistance bands are in there too. Just to get you going, these should help!
Edited by Katbaran On January 31, 2012 9:41 AM
January 31, 2012 9:56 AM
January 31, 2012 10:25 AM
I also have bad knees thanks to heredity and a bike accident. I do not find the elliptical to be easy on my knees whatsoever but the stationary bike is wonderful. I also find that walking on a steep incline on the treadmill doesn't bother me at all. I went to PT also and agree that strengthening your weak areas is very important and will definitely help you in the long run. good luck!
January 31, 2012 10:29 AM
Swimming. Stationary bike, the kind you sit low in. Walking.

Your knees will get better as you lose weight. Your back will get stronger with activity.
January 31, 2012 10:29 AM

That's me!!! Lol I use an elliptical that I bought on clearance for 70 (plus tax) it was a floor model of their cheapest one hehe works like a charm for my purposes though and it's at home!!

That's me too. I have an elliptical at home also. Along with walking to the park etc.
January 31, 2012 10:30 AM
rowing, it's almost always free at the gym
January 31, 2012 10:31 AM
I agree with the water aerobics comments.. There will be impact on your knees though.. check into a deep water running or jogging class..
January 31, 2012 10:31 AM
If you have the ability to do this, it would be the best thing for you:

Go to your normal physician and explain that you want to lose weight and you want a referral to a physical therapist to help with your back and knee pain. The physical therapist will help relieve the pain and will help strengthen your muscles. They will also be able to give you lots of suggestions for exercises that won't hurt you.

I go to a physical therapist for my shoulder and it is seriously amazing. My insurance covers it, so it is only 6 dollars per hour visit!! I go twice a week and get massage, electrotherapy, and ultrasound treatment. I spend half the time doing supervised exercises and half the time doing the treatments with the PT lady. I also get a list of exercises to do on days when I am not there.
January 31, 2012 10:31 AM
Stamina is not something you have its something you build - got to start building - I was 300 at one point and the first time i worked out I could not last more than 8 minutes walking at 2.9 on the treadmill. So do that or whatever your best is for the day and you will get better every time, I would simply walk every other day, and make it a goal to go just a little bit further each time, go as slow as you want but go - by all means get up and go!
January 31, 2012 10:33 AM
I use a stationary bike when my knee is bothering me. Other than that, you can satrt out with short walks...maybe 1/4 mile but the best thing to do is find an indoor pool or heated pool...I know our city pool is heated (outdoor) for lap swim during the winter. It is a good thing to build you level up....even if you can just do one lap for a week then start upping it each week that would be great....and you burn more cals swimming than you do walking!
January 31, 2012 10:34 AM
What do you do when you can't walk? I have Arthritis in my ankles and feet. I would do swimming but my skin is senstive to the chlorine and I itch!
January 31, 2012 10:34 AM
Walk At Home .... these are a series of "in home" walking videos. Moves are simple, go at your own pace, make the moves bigger or smaller as needed. Get yourself some good shoes. I walk in my basement ... but use an exercise mat for added "bounce." Here's a sample (DVDs at Target, WalMart, etc) 5 Minute Walk

Rebounder (mini trampoline) will cut down on impact too
January 31, 2012 10:35 AM
recumbent bike is also easy on knees and back
January 31, 2012 10:38 AM
Try spinning, low impact on your knees, you may feel some stress on the lower back but once you develop you abs and lower back muscles the standing portions should be become tolerable. I spin at least 3x a week for 50 minutes and burn on average 1020 calories. I am 6'4" and my starting weight was 295. I have dropped 50 lbs over the last 4 months. Good luck....I have been there and just keep telling yourself to keep moving.
January 31, 2012 11:03 AM
32 months ago I could barely walk from one room to the other. Because of my weight and an accident in 2002 I have grade 3 osteoarthritis and torn meniscus in both knee's and a torn ACL in my left knee. I recommend going to an ortho dr. and find out just what your facing, if you haven't already. I had to begin my journey in Aquatic therapy because I couldn't support my own weight and the water takes that out of the equation. I spent the next year and a half losing 175 lbs. in the water and working with my PT therapist and they fitted me with custom knee braces and slowly talked me out of the pool and onto land. I split time between both the pool and land base exercise, I do moderate treadmill walking and some stationary biking but I now use the elliptical (after my therapist hounded me for 6 months to get on it) for the majority of my exercise out of the water. I belong to the YMCA and they have both Standing Elliptical and Seated Elliptical, it is alot less stress on my knee's over the pounding I get walking on the treadmill. I also like to do the rowing machine, great cardio workout there..... I have also worked with my ortho dr. for pain treatment (pain meds and injection therapy) After my weightloss I will be getting knee replacements, the damage to my knee's is to far gone now so we are just buying time... I can tell you this, My legs have Never been stronger than they are today, If I didn't have the bone on bone problem/pain I would be good to go (hence the knee replacement will take care of that part) but by strengthening my muscles in my legs I know it has help get me farther than I would have had I not.... If you can get access to a pool that is the place I would start.....


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