Recently, after years of rejection, I finally bought my first pair of Birkenstocks. Now, not that I really had a thing against ridiculously comfortable sandals. But considering they’ve been a mainstay among the chic fashion crowds for a couple of years now, I didn’t want to be the one to buy them simply because they were ‘cool’. But a couple of months ago, I noticed my knees started to feel a bit cracking once I went up and down the stairs. Whether I blame it on weightlifting, dance class, or my flat feet, it had been official: At 25, I was now a person searching for Birkies for my “bad knees.”
I’m not alone either. Research shows that up to 1 in 3 young adults experience knee pain at one time or another. It is often due to factors such as wearing high heels or unsupportive shoes, muscle imbalances, or excess weight. But regardless of the cause, your doctor will likely advise you to avoid high-impact exercises that are harsh on the legs, such as running and plyometrics. But what should the girl do when your knees are giving you pain, but you would like to stay in shape? Fortunately, many types of low-intensity exercise will still allow you to honestly sweat. These are some of our favorites:
Pilates is one of those things that is actually much more difficult than it is. It’s going to be pretty slow and controlled, but when done regularly, it can work wonders for those hard-to-tone spots like the arms and inner thighs. It also happens to be an excellent basic exercise for flexibility, which in turn can help strengthen your knees. Spread out your mat and watch one of these reception Pilates workouts, or head to a nearby studio.
Swimming is possibly the simplest low-impact workout you will ever do. Due to the buoyancy of the water, there is almost no impact on the joints. Not only is it a great effective cardiovascular exercise, but water resistance is also great for building muscle. Make the most of the last two weeks of summer and visit your local pool (or the ocean, if you’re up for it) for a few laps.
It is no secret that we love our yoga here at Modern. Not only is it amazing for putting your zen on, but it’s also great for flexibility and strengthening your muscles (and, of course, your core). It also happens to be an amazing low-impact workout! Depending on the type you are doing, you will also sweat quite a bit doing it.
The TRX is without a doubt one of the most versatile gym equipment out there. Basically, as long as you have one among these bad boys and something to hook it up with (like a door frame), you’ll do a coffee impact resistance workout that will get your blood pumping and your muscles shooting. Not sure what to try with it? Guided courses are available at gyms like Fitness First and boutique studios like Flow Athletic.
While rowers often sit in the back of gyms gathering dust, they’ve had a bit of a revival lately, with rowing studios soaring across the country. Logging miles on the machine will work your arms, legs, back, and core while having minimal impact on your joints.
Believe it or not, cycling is truly a coffee impact workout. However, it is important to ensure that your bike fits correctly to minimize the risk of injury. Whether you’re taking your bike outside, heading to a spin class (or doing one from the comfort of your home), cycling is a big thank you for getting your cardio hit while taking care of your joints.
Do you want to work on your abs and legs but are concerned about the impact of weighted squats on your knees? Sweep is a word we’d like to use for you. The training method might be a mix of dance, Pilates, yoga, and resistance training, and WOW, is it tough. It is, however, a lot of fun.
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