How To Stay Fit Despite Knee Pain

Man Holding Knee in Pain

Please note, workouts suggested on this website are not to be interpreted as treatment plans or substitutes for medical consultation. Before undertaking any exercise program, please consult a physician or healthcare provider for appropriate safety precautions. If at any point during a workout you start to feel dizzy, faint, short of breath, or experience physical discomfort, discontinue your exercise immediately and consult a physician.

If you live an active lifestyle, chances are you’ve experienced knee pain in one form or another. Surprisingly, you don’t have to let it sideline your workouts. Numerous studies have shown that exercise may be the best medicine for chronic knee pain in some cases, whether it stems from osteoarthritis or meniscus injury. The goal is to strengthen the muscles around the joint and protect you from injury by decreasing stress on the knee. But it’s critical to use good form and technique.

Once you’ve cleared it with your doctor, try these exercise tips for strengthening the knees and staying fit despite knee pain.

Partial Squats

Standing in front of a chair with your feet hip-width apart, slowly lower halfway into the chair. Keep your abs tight, and send your butt back into the chair, with your knees behind your toes. Do 10-12 reps, up to three times a week.


Never underestimate the power of walking! Walking at a high speed or on an incline can burn tons of calories without the stress on your knees and other joints. Once you’re comfortable power-walking in your neighborhood or on a treadmill, take it outside and try some light terrain.


Swimming is low-impact and burns calories fast, plus it can work the lower body without putting stress on the knees. As a total body exercise, you need to watch your form, even in the water. Avoid strokes that stress the knees, such as the frog kick. And skip the push-off from the wall. If you're a beginner swimmer or just want some extra tips, read our full blog about swimming.

What Not To Do:

• Never bend your legs so your knees stick out past your toes. Check by looking down. Can you see your toes? No? Pull the hips back.
• Avoid lunges and deep squats.
• Say yes to cardio, but avoid high impact sports like running where your legs are pounding the pavement. If you want the feeling of running without the impact, check out the innovative Zero Runner at your local Gym Source location.

Knee pain can be, well, a pain but you don’t have to let it slow you down. You have goals to meet and some tweaks to your regular routine will keep you on the right path. You may even find a new, lower-impact exercise to carry on even when the knee pain subsides. With your doctor’s permission, try out some knee-friendly options and see what suits you.

Share this story: