After years of exercising which included squats and lunges, dance, and running up subway stairs in Boston and New York City my knees had it and starting voicing it’s concern. It was not until I left the city, moved into a second floor apartment, and walked up the flight of stairs that I noticed that my joints were cracking. In the city, I always had my headphones on when I would walk or run up the stairs at the subway and thought it was my headphones making the clicking noise from movement. Of course I Googled to see what was happening but, it really did not say much. I thought it was the hyperextension I have of the knees which I did not know until an instructor pointed it out in ballet class.
When I went to my yearly physical the physician told me if I lose weight the cracking would go away or at least it would not get worse. The only advice I received was to change my diet and exercise. Then, since I was not losing was suggested that I have weight loss surgery because obviously I must not be doing anything to help my weight loss. My question of “Would this even work for me?” was answered. My private insurance refused the consult because they said, “I had no underlying disease to get coverage for the procedure”. At this point it was all up to me.
Since turning forty I knew it would be even more difficult. In the past, I use to just be able to reduce my calories and work and…
I LOST WEIGHT
That was not working anymore. I started reading about weight loss over forty. Some had to drop several things from their diet and exercise even more. Years ago I dropped carbohydrates and going out to eat regularly therefore, I took the initiative to drop dairy and diet soda. Tried working out more doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. Most of the moves required squats and lunges. My knees became worse, started feeling pain during and after exercise, with the end result that I did not lose anything. There went me ever going to CrossFit.
Then, I looked back at my life that caused me to gain weight. I had some losses and took medications that contributed. Even though I was over them why was I still having issues? Had to go back even further to think about what I did when I was at a comfortable weight. Crunch Fitness, Jane Fonda, Denise Austin or Kathy Smith workouts were part of my life. These days workouts like this seem to be hard to find. People are on this HIIT trip. It is great but, not when your knees are falling apart. When I had a gym membership I did free weights on my cardio off days. Then, the light bulb lit in my head that ever since I started working in a hospital and had to do agency/travel nursing I gained. To say the least it was an epiphany. I quit soon after. It was not good for my pyshce. Plus, I was not moving up as I was going in circles trying to advance. They say stress can keep the weight on. Except I am not dropping coffee, lol.
Finally, I stopped doing workouts that were going to put stress on my knees. I did enough squats and lunges in my life to let them go. Yoga and Pilates do not aggravate me so much so I will continue on with this. Sadly, I probably will not do ballet anymore. If I did take a dance class skipping anything that has me plié is a NO. One night I started looking specifically for exercises for obese people with knee osteoarthritis looking to lose weight to prevent more damage or even surgery. The first website I came across is, 7 Exercises for Overweight Knee Pain. Their picture pretty much did it for me because, I had been doing all the wrong exercises the whole time.
Furthermore, I read that adding resistance to the workout machines had also been a route of my problems. Choosing the Right Home Exercise Equipment stresses not to use resistance or settings that have this because they can increase injury. In the past, every single time I did go to a gym using the cardio machines I added hills or resistance to them increasing the force on my knee. Not only that I was using a stair climber. Climbing stairs causes my knees to click the most. Now I just hit the treadmill, elliptical, or bike and hit the manual setting. My maximum heart rate can go up just with increasing my intensity and will continue to stay at this rate even with slowing down.
When I started doing HIIT I stopped doing strength training because, I figured my body was doing it for me. I picked up my 5 lb. dumbbells and started. Honestly, it was hard and continues to be hard. I realized that I had not done this for years and I was not as in shape as I thought I was. On some workouts I cannot use the weights. This is okay because, eventually they will be needed. If the workouts have squats or lunges I fast forward to when they do not.
You can find videos that do not have HIIT such as the oldies. I miss Crunch Fitness. They use to be on TV everyday… along with Gilad’s Body in Motion, Denise Austin, and Kiana’s Flex Appeal. I had some of their VHS when I was younger and they kept me in shape! Another one is Jane Fonda and Denise Austin which can be found on BeFit. This video from Crunch Fitness still it has some squats and lunges but, it is almost a hour long so you will still get a good strength training workout:
Thank goodness someone gets it. Jake DuPree has awesome videos on PopSugar Fitness. He is an fitness instructor and dancer who is super fun!
This one has some squats but, you can skip them to get at least 35 minutes in.
He uses no squats in this one. Perfect!
Popsugar Fitness is my fave go to spot for videos. Anna Renderer is in most of them. You just have to look and do to see which ones work for you. This one is great for those days you are not motivated for arm and ab work with absolutely no squats or lunges! Then, you can do one of Jake’s videos for you bottom half.
If you are like me who has knee problems even if it is not from obesity and you want to keep active this should help. So far it is working for me. Actually, I burn more calories doing longer low intensity work out than I did with HIIT and I am not killing my knees in the process. Since I have lost some weight my knees are feeling better. They still click when I have to use the stairs so I try to avoid them. Do not get discouraged. I was about to give up on everything but, I knew if I did not continue my habits I would make it even worse. If you read my other blogs about exercise, I get bored easily. That is why it is important for me to find all these videos so I can change it up. As for cardio, I change up my routine in the gym in my complex. I will do twenty minutes of the treadmill, elliptical, and bike. Or, some days I just do one. Lastly, sometimes I will find a low impact cardio video and again skip the squats and lunges. Continue reading “Pain in the Knees”