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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the best types of low impact exercises?

    I am limited to low impact exercise because of my health condition (I have arthritis in my knees). What's the best/safest type of exercise for me?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Kristin Lewis

    HealthShare Member

    Low impact exercises are those that don't involve jarring of your joints. Typical examples would be cycling, swimming or a number of aerobic exercise machines commonly found in gyms such as a rowing machine, bike, eliptical trainer or stepper.

  • 3


    Anna-Louise Moule

    Exercise Physiologist

    I am an Accredited Exercise Physiologist specialising in the management of chronic conditions through exercise and lifestyle management. I completed my undergraduate studies in Exercise … View Profile

    In addition to the low impact aerobic exercises Kristin suggested above which are necessary for increasing an maintaining cardiovascular fitness and decreasing the chance of heart disease and many metabolic conditions. You should be doing some form of resistance training to strengthen the muscles around the knees and take the pressure of your arthritic knees. I would recommend consulting an Exercise Physiologist as they have specialised knowledge in Exercise Prescription for arthritis that is safe and effective.

  • 2


    Neil Synnott

    Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist

    I am qualified as a PHYSIOTHERAPIST and ACCREDITED EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST.I primarily use the McKENZIE METHOD for assessment and management of musculoskeletal pain disorders. The McKENZIE … View Profile


    Glad to know that you are keen to continue exercising despite your knee pain.

    As a physiotherapist, I am interested to know if you have aches and pains elsewhere in your body. Often restrictions of tightness in the low back or hips can make ‘arthritic’ knees more painful and have reduced exercise tolerance.

    If restrictions in the low back and hip do exist, and are improved with specific stretching, the other low impact exercises as described are much more tolerated and you get more health benefit from them! I have recently treated a 70 year old lady with right knee arthrits… her right hip was quite restricted, the right knee moved quite well… with a home stretching routine for the hip, the knee pain was 70-80% better within a week!

    I would recommend assessment from a credentialled McKenzie physiotherapist to see if low back, hip and/or knee restrictions exist. With a McKenzie physiotherapist, you would likely only need 2-3 sessions to notice improved knee pain and exercise tolerance!

    All the best,

    Regards, Neil


  • 1


    Dr David Salisbury is an osteopath situated in Bairnsdale, in East Gippsland, Victoria. He completed his osteopathic studies at RMIT University, and now works at … View Profile

    Just to reaffirm what has already been mentioned, I've found my patients have had the best results from swimming. The combination of muscle strengthening and stretching, with basically no impact on the joints makes it very effective.

    Dr David Salisbury - Osteopath -

  • 1




    Dr Roi Cheng


    Graduating with distinctions from the prestigious 5 years Bachelors and Masters Chiropractic program at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Dr Roi Cheng took a … View Profile


    For individuals with osteoarthritis, Tai Chi has also been shown to be a tremendously beneficial exercise. It is low force, increases joint motion and flexibility and improves balance. It also improves focus, giving a sense of well being. 

    Hope this helps!


  • 1


    Dr Marco Makari


    Dr. Marco Makari is a chiropractor and a qualified AFL sports trainer who specializes in rehabilitation therapy and musculoskeletal injuries. He graduated from the prestigious … View Profile

    I agree with Dr.Cheng! 

    Tai Chi has helped many of our patients manage their osteoarthritis pain. Its gentle, safe and suitable for all age groups. 

    Hydrotherapy  is also really beneficial. Group sessions are usually available at most local pools. They're affordable, effective and most importantly, they're great fun!

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