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Need Good Cardio for Bad Knees
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KayM7 posted:
I'm a 21 year old female with very weak knees (it runs in the family). I don't make enough money for a gym membership, but I need some form of strenuous cardio exercise to get myself up and going. I tried jogging for a week and was debilitated for the next month, but walking just doesn't get my heart-rate high enough. I was told jumping rope is also bad for weak knees? Does anyone have an idea of how I can keep my heart (and wallet) healthy from home?
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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Hi Kay,

Any non-weight-bearing exercises might be good for you. If your local town rec center has a pool that might be an option as recreation centers tend to cost much less money than a commercial fitness center. A stationary bike might be an option, although you should try it out first to make sure it's okay for the knees. It will be an expense up front, but it will pay off long-run. Lots of the large retail stores like Wal-Mart, Target, etc, have reasonably priced bikes. You could try an elliptical as well since although it's weight-bearing, there is no pounding on the knees, and it's a great workout. You could also check out www.collage video.com Give them a call and describe your situation and they'll make a recommendation.

You should probably check out exercise tubing for resistance exercise. Tubing is inexpensive and versatile (you can do lots of exercises with them even in a chair) and a great way to get started with resistance exercise. You can start with a set of three for about $20. They come in colors to denote the tension. If you order them make sure to order the strap that allows you to attach the tube to a door (this is essential for many exercises), and if you want to work your legs, ask for leg straps. Here are some vendors that sell them.
www.performbetter.com/catalog/default.asp
www.power-systems.com

And here's a site with great videos http://www.body-mind-strength.com/resistance_tube_exercises/resistance_tube_exercises.html

As for strengthening your legs/knees, I recommend straight leg raises. To do them lie on the floor on your back, one knee bent, the other straight, hands palm down under the buttocks to support the low back. Contract the quadriceps on the straight leg, then raise leg to the height of the other knee. Pause 1-2 second at the top, then lower leg but do not allow it to touch the floor. Repeat 10-15 reps, 3 sets. You can use ankle weights if these are very easy. Start with one pound and work up. You should always be able to do 10-15 reps. As you get stronger, you may be able to progress to leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses, squats, and other exercises. Here is a picture of straight leg raises.

http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/joint-injections-9/slideshow-knee-exercises (slide #3).

Then click on the next picture which describes how to tighten the quadriceps before lifting as I instruct above.

Good luck! Rich
 
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KayM7 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Rich,

Thank you so much for all this advice! I didn't expect such a thorough response. I will try the straight leg raises, hopefully they will help strengthen my knees a little more. I'll have to start a savings jar for a stationary bike, but hopefully it will pay off.

Thanks again!
 
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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to KayM7's response:
You're very welcome. I'm glad it helped. Keep me posted. I don't believe that you cannot strengthen your legs unless there is some serious medical condition preventing it from happening. Maybe you won't get super strong, but there's really no reason why you couldn't improve on it. Straight leg raises are a good start. Good luck.
 
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conlonc responded:
Try the stationary bike, stair master and/or swimming.
 
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THE_MAJ replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
HI, i am 58, in 10 years went fronm 198 to 315... i have ...HASHIMOTO'S AUTOIMMUNE THYROIDISM.... AND IN THE LASST 2 MONTHS I WENT FROM 290 TO 315... WITHOUT A CHANGE IN MY DIET... MY KNEE'S ARE KILLING ME.. AND MY BACK, MY BACK FEELS, LIKE IS IS GOING TO COLLAPSE....I DON'T SWIM.. TERRIFIED OF ANY POOLS, ... CAN'T RIDE A BIKE OR A STATIONARY BIKE.. HIPS... KNEES, BACK..... CAN NOT SIT OR LAY ON FLOOR DUE TO BACK... ON MATTRESS IS NOT SOO BAD ....I USE LEG WTGS .. BUT STILL..THE AUTOIMMUNE THYROIDITIES... IS AWEFULLLLLLLL...... I LOST TONAGE... AND THEN I GAIN TONAGE..... I EAT ALL GOOD FOOD.... FRUITS, VEGGIE... I WORKOUT AL LONG AS I CAN.. THEN I CAN'T DO ANYTHING OR WALK..... SO I AM TRYING.. BUT... I AM JUST GAINING.... THIS IS THE MOST I HAve ever, EVER WEIGH ... THANKS FOR YOU REPLY
 
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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to THE_MAJ's response:
Hi MAJ,

I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. The good news is that Hashimoto's thyroiditis is typically very treatable with medication and so you should make sure you are seeing a doctor for treatment to get your thyroid level under control. Once under control your weight will be easier to manage.

As for exercise, the pool would be great and perhaps you would be willing to have swim lessons to overcome your fear, or look for water classes where it's only in the shallow end where you can stand. You can also try www.collagevideo.com for exercise DVD's. Call them and explain your situation. They will recommend a DVD that you'll be able to do (including chair videos). You can also try Armchair Fitness at www.armchairfitness.com/

I also recommend that you consider exercise tubing for resistance exercise. Tubing is inexpensive and versatile (you can do lots of exercises with them even in a chair) and a great way to get started with resistance exercise. You can start with a set of three for about $20. They come in colors to denote the tension. If you order them make sure to order the strap that allows you to attach the tube to a door (this is essential for many exercises), and if you want to work your legs, ask for leg straps. Here are some vendors that sell them.
www.performbetter.com/catalog/default.asp
www.power-systems.com

And here's a site with great videos http://www.body-mind-strength.com/resistance_tube_exercises/resistance_tube_exercises.html
As for your diet and weight loss, you can get all the support and expert guidance on your diet here at WebMD by checking out the Diet Community and the Weight Loss Clubs. Weight loss is hard and can be a lonely business. The support and guidance can be extremely helpful.

You can post your diet-related questions to the Diet Community:
http://exchanges.webmd.com/diet-exchange

And here's the Food and Fitness Planner
http://www.webmd.com/diet/food-fitness-planner/summary

And the exercise calorie counter:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-fitness-calorie-counter

And you can select one of the Diet Clubs based on how much weight you want to lose.
http://exchanges.webmd.com/dieting-club-10-25-lbs-exchange
http://exchanges.webmd.com/dieting-club-25-50-lbs-exchange
http://exchanges.webmd.com/dieting-club-50-100-lbs-exchange
http://exchanges.webmd.com/dieting-club-100-lbs-exchange

You'll find everything you need to lose weight on these sites.

I hope that helps. Feel free to post back if you have more questions.

Take care, Rich
 
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soleado responded:
What I highly recommend is swimming or some form of water exercises; swimming works so many muscles of the body and can really really get your heart rate up. I also started using swim fins and it works your muscles a little harder without the hard impact of running exercises which is horrific on the knee joint; I know because my left knee is bad, overtime by using the swim fins and building up my endurance my knees, ankles and body are much stronger and therefore less pain. I hope this helps; because it really helped me.


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