Stuck in bed with a knee injury? The psychological pain of being bedridden can sometimes be even worse than the actual pain of the injury. Do you feel that your fitness goals are doomed? Are the thoughts of gaining weight taunting you mercilessly? Don’t worry. This is a concern shared by many, and fortunately, solutions to this problem do exist.
The majority of sportsmen and athletes face knee injuries at least once in their lifetime. Some may be trivial, but at times they can be serious enough to knock them off the track for few months, or even years. But they don’t have to worry about their fitness levels dropping while they are incapacitated. Why? Because they know how to keep themselves fit even when they are down with an injury. Are you curious to know how this is possible? Then read on.
Certain sports will help you maintain your fitness levels with minimal, or even absolutely no, impact on the knees. For safety purposes, you must talk with your trainer to assess the load that your knee can bear, and then decide what game to play. But generally, the following sports are known to be safe for people with bad knees:
Swimming is the king of all sports when it comes to having a low impact on your knees. Since you are not pressing your leg on the floor, your knee is spared from bearing the stress. The reduction in gravity, coupled with the buoyancy of water, means virtually zero impact on your knees. Get into a pool and check it out for yourself. You will float, and the impact on knees is drastically reduced. What if you don’t know swimming? It is pretty easy, and a coach can help you learn easily. Get into the shallow part of the pool, and strengthen your legs through various exercises. Then slowly swim small distances freestyle. Gradually increase the distance and time. Before long, you’ll come to appreciate the wonders swimming can do for your cardiovascular health, and stamina.
Another great low impact exercise. Stationary cycling is very good for the knees and legs. It will help you burn fat, develop endurance, increase stamina – all this without hurting the knees. Cycling on the pavement or road is not recommended, as you cannot decide the speed that you want to cycle at, and are forced to apply the brakes now and then. So cycling on a stationary cycle is your best bet. Alternatively, you could cycle on an even surface outdoors. Do avoid cycling uphill, as that can put a strain on your knees.
Rowing and water polo
These water-based activities as effective as swimming. These are usually practiced as a group. So if you have a group with whom you can go for rowing and play water polo, then be sure not to miss it.
While not exactly a sport, yoga is one of the most beneficial fitness practices. You should practice yoga at least thrice a week. Low impact yoga techniques help you stretch without hurting the knees. You must enroll yourself in a yoga program, or find a trainer who can help you do them. Never try to practice yoga just by looking at images or videos. Yoga can be used either for strengthening your knees or as conditioning before indulging in a sporting activity.
Recommended Read: 10 Yoga Poses for Pain Relief
If you are confined to the wheelchair, it doesn’t mean that you can’t play any sports. There are some wheelchair sports that you can play. You need to find a physiotherapist and trainer who can help you choose the sport suitable for you. There are even people who do pull-ups from a wheelchair.
Low impact exercises
Though not a sport, these low impact exercises are used to strengthen the knees and help rebuild your weight bearing capacity. You have to hire a personal trainer, who will help you do these exercises. While some people try to do it on their own, it is recommended that you take the help of a trainer, who will customize exercises for you and then help you with them. Once you get the right form and function, you can exercise. Never ignore these exercises as they will help you recover faster.
This is again not a sport, but an excellent way to condition your body and mind when you have bad knees.
Here are few additional tips:
- Use knee support during sports.
- Stop the sport if it strains your knee.
- Go gradually and consistently.
- Keep up the motivation and discipline
- Watch movies that motivate you.
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