Exercise can be a real challenge if you have bad knees, a bad back or both. While walking is generally considered a safe form of exercise for almost anyone, those complaining knees and back can hinder a walking workout. There are pieces of exercise equipment that are ideal for people who suffer from pain in the back and the knees.
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Riding a bike is an excellent form of exercise, especially for those suffering from knee and back pain. Most upright bikes will be suitable for those ailments, and one feature is especially nice. Comfort bikes, which are similar to the old style bikes from the 50s and 60s offer a comfortable and wide seat and high adjustable handle bars. Many of them offer a 'step through' in the centre, the frame is designed to dip low to the ground instead of a high bar. With a step through a person with bad knees can easily get one leg through to the other side to mount the bike.
A recumbent or lying down bike is also an option, although they take a bit more skill to steer. They are designed so that the person is in a reclining position on the bike. This is good for bad backs as the person is able to keep her back in a more neutral position.
A stability ball is a large inflated ball that was originally used in physiotherapy but has since made it's way into mainstream gyms. A stability ball offers a different way to exercise, the body is supported by the big ball and less strain is put on the knees and back. A person can put a stability ball against the wall behind their back, and perform squats without strain on the knees and the back is well supported by the ball. Squats and lunges are often the most difficult exercises to perform with bad knees or a bad back. The ball against the wall puts the body in a better position, and helps just a bit so that a person can manage these body weight exercises. Squats are an important component in a strength program, and they help to strengthen the legs, which in turn can ease pain in the knees. A ball can also be used for many stretches that can alleviate back pain.
The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons has recommendations for exercise equipment to use at home. A treadmill, stationary bike and weight machines are tops on the list for home equipment for those with bad backs and knees. Simple hand weights, videos and an exercise mat are also useful. If you are budget-minded, check your local library for videos and DVDs that you can use.
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