Elliptical Exercises for Joint Pain

Here are some elliptical exercises for those who suffer from joint pain that can be varied in intensity.

Go to any gym and you'll find a row of ellipticals. These machines let you simulate a walking, running or climbing motion, but with less strain on your joints. Because you can vary the intensity from low to high, the elliptical can substitute for running or enable you to take your walking routine to the next level.

A 2011 study published in Gait Posture Journal found that elliptical training significantly reduced weight-bearing stress on joints compared with other physical activity, including running and walking on a treadmill or outside.

When you hop onto a machine, there are a few ways to make the workout more challenging or easier.

Make it easier: For a less intense full-body workout, grab the handles and use them to take some of the focus away from your lower body. Make sure you're pulling your elbows straight back, close to your body. 

Make it harder: To focus solely on building strength in your legs, don't grab the handles. This forces your lower body to do all the work, allowing you to build more strength in your thighs' quadriceps without putting too much stress on your knees. Bonus: Without the support of your hands, you get a much more challenging core workout, as your trunk works to stabilize your body.

Make it even harder: To really up the ante, try intervals by changing both the incline and the resistance — the higher the resistance, the more challenging it will be. Alternate the height and resistance every 1 to 3 minutes for 10 to 20 minutes total.

This exercise was published by the AARP.

Make sure to talk with your doctor to get the go-ahead to exercise before trying any joint-friendly activities.