Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors with Bad Knees
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6 Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors with Bad Knees (2023)

If you have bad knees and are looking for exercise equipment to accommodate this, you’ve come to the right place.

For those suffering from knee pain, or other problems that cause body pain, it can be difficult to find the right style of workout to incorporate into your exercise routine. When you suffer from bad knees, even the simplest activities like taking the stairs, bending down, or walking the dog can cause more pain.

High-impact exercise equipment can do more damage than good for your bad knees.

However, there are plenty of stretches, exercises, and low-impact workout machines that can help to reduce your pain and get your blood pumping.

In this article, we’ll share some of the best exercise equipment for bad knees that are safe and effective to use.

Related post: Exercises for Seniors with Limited Mobility

Exercising with Bad Knees

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that having bad knees shouldn’t stop you from exercising altogether.

Exercise is important for our overall wellbeing—and it’s an essential part of our everyday lives.

A keyword when it comes to considering which exercise equipment for bad knees is “low-impact”. This kind of activity, along with the right strengthening and stretching exercises, is the key to correctly exercising when you suffer from knee pain or other joint problems like arthritis.

Elderly person using a rowing machine

Gyms are filled with exercise machines of all shapes and sizes. If you suffer from bad knees, you must understand which ones can actually harm your body, rather than help it.

Different exercise equipment machines target different muscle groups. When choosing which machines to use you’ll need to consider which ones could cause additional injury or strain on your knees.

How To Reduce Knee Pain At Home

Senior couple with exercise equipment at home

If you’re not interested in finding the best exercise equipment in gym facilities and would prefer to exercise at home, you’ll be glad to know that you have plenty of options.

It’s a good idea to invest in home exercise equipment for bad knees while incorporating regular stretching and plenty of rest into your daily activities. You’ll need to put as little stress as possible on your knee joints, which means assessing the best kinds of exercises that won’t increase pressure on your knee and hip joints and worsen your pain.

There are plenty of home tutorials for people looking to reduce knee pain and build strength in their legs without expensive equipment. A simple Google or YouTube search will yield plenty of video tutorials and explanations by professionals.

Best Exercise Equipment For Bad Knees

Below is a list of the best exercise equipment for anyone suffering from knee pain.

Elliptical Machine

Schwinn Elliptical Machine
Schwinn Elliptical Machine
A great piece of resistance training exercise equipment for bad knees because it doesn't put stress on the knee joints in the same way other cardio machines do.

An elliptical trainer machine provides users with a complete full-body workout. The motions involved with an elliptical trainer combine elements of biking, walking and running. An elliptical machine is a great piece of resistance training exercise equipment for bad knees because it doesn’t put stress on the knee joints in the same way other cardio machines, like treadmills, do.

Using an elliptical trainer yields impressive results. This machine allows for maximum back strengthening while ensuring protection with synchronized movements. This makes it an ideal option for elderly adults suffering from knee joint or muscle pain.

The elliptical machine resistance can be adjusted to accommodate beginners with knee pain. You can also adjust the incline to increase the workout intensity and burn more calories. This means you can get a full cardio workout without increasing joint pain or the extent of a knee injury.


  • Adjustable resistance
  • Doesn’t put pressure on muscles
  • Works all muscles


  • No incline

Recumbent Bicycle

Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance
Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance
Features back support and various resistance training settings.

A recumbent bike is a great knee exercise machine that won’t put extra stress on your painful joints. With this machine, the user sits on the seat and pedals with their legs outstretched. Recumbent bikes feature back support and various resistance training settings so the user can adjust the workout intensity to suit their needs.

Recumbent bikes are a great option for those seeking to work out lower body muscles, as it doesn’t require any effort from the muscles in the upper body. If you experience knee pain, gentle exercises with a recumbent bicycle are great ways to relieve knee pain while building your muscles and working out your legs.


  • Low-impact cardio machine
  • Back support
  • Adjustable resistance settings for customized workouts


  • Not the most engaging type of exercise machine

Stationary Bike

Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary
Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary
Feature resistance settings that allow you to increase or decrease the amount of friction on the pedals for an easier or tougher workout.

A stationary bike is designed to be like a regular road bike, as opposed to recumbent bikes which feature a more natural seating position. Most gyms feature both types of exercise bikes, however, it should be noted that recumbent bicycles are typically considered a better option for beginners.

A stationary bike offers a great exercise experience for anyone with knee pain. The bike forces the user to sit up straight and use their core muscles to move and pedal the bike. These machines feature resistance settings that allow you to increase or decrease the amount of friction on the pedals for an easier or tougher workout.


  • Adjustable resistance
  • Regular bike design is easy to use
  • More affordable than other machines


  • Doesn’t target upper muscle areas


A treadmill is a large cardio exercise machine. It’s fantastic for people with bad knees as it allows for several exercises with different intensities. Treadmills can be used for running, jogging, and walking and feature adjustable inclines and speeds to change the workout intensity.

Although you might think these kinds of exercise would be bad for your knees, it’s not always true. Most modern treadmills feature a safe shock absorption belt in the running area that offers protection for your knees while you’re working out.

You can choose from a range of low-intensity walking programs and use the handlebar supports for a safer treadmill exercise experience.


  • Feature several low-intensity walking exercises
  • Adjustable incline and speed settings
  • Safety handlebars and shock absorption belt for added support


  • Increasing workout intensity can put added stress on knees

Leg Press

Adjustable Weight Bench
Adjustable Weight Bench
A great option for beginners coming back from knee injuries.

The leg press allows the user to mimic natural leg movements by playing the foot on the equipment and putting it in motion. It emulates natural movements that we do every day, such as standing up and sitting down.

This is a gentle knee exercise machine that slowly strengthens the muscles and alleviates pressure on the knee joints. Isolating specific muscles and training them makes this a great option for beginners coming back from knee injuries or other types of aches and pains in the legs.


  • Mimics natural knee movements
  • Adjustable resistance
  • Great for beginners


  • Not as effective at developing all-round lower body strength

Rowing Machine

Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine
Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine
Great for building strength in the arms, back, and legs without placing added pressure on the knees.

A rowing machine is a great piece of equipment for conditioning and developing strength throughout the body.

Rowing machines require the user to strap in their feet, sit on a sliding seat, and mimic the action of rowing a boat. The user can adjust the resistance to suit their needs, then they pull the bar towards their stomach while pushing the feet forwards to extend the back. It’s great for building strength in the arms, back, and legs without placing added pressure on the knees.

You can easily adjust the resistance settings to increase the friction and add more weight to increase strength in the upper body. Usually, this can be done with the touch of a button.


  • Adjustable resistance
  • Great whole-body strength building machine
  • Low impact workout


  • Learning to use rowing machines can be difficult

The Benefits of Using Exercise Machines for Seniors with Knee Problems

Elderly man using a stationary bike

There are many benefits to using exercise equipment when you’re suffering from knee problems or other types of joint pain.

  1. Weight loss – One of the best ways to alleviate pressure on the knees is to get rid of excess weight. Excess weight puts added strain on the knees as you’re carrying it around all day. Regular exercise using one of these exercise machines can help you to burn calories and lose weight. The speed at which you burn calories will vary depending on the type of machine and resistance settings you choose.
  2. Improve endurance – Training with exercise equipment is great for strength building, but it can also help to improve your endurance. This reduces your risk of injury and increases your ability to perform everyday activities without getting tired or needing to sit down.
  3. Low-impact – Choosing the right equipment that offers low-intensity workouts means you can train your muscles while reducing the risk of injury. Going straight into high-impact workouts after a knee injury or strain can actually worsen the pain you’re experiencing, rather than help you to manage it better.
  4. Increase flexibility – The more flexible we become, the less prone to injuries we are. This can help to improve existing pain while increasing strength and posture.

Don’t let knee pain prevent you from getting back in the exercise saddle or doing everyday activities.

Implementing a regular exercise routine is the key to building up your strength and getting your life back on track, whether you’ve suffered an injury to your knee or you’re experiencing chronic pain.

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Jill believes that life just keeps getting better as she gets older. She believes everyone can live a full life of endless possibilities, with the right mindset, a healthy diet and with exercise.

Last update on 2023-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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