Best cardio for hip pain

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Best and Worst Exercise Machines for Chronic Hip Pain

If you have hip pain, taking it easy might seem best for relief. But although sometimes rest is necessary, being inactive for too long only causes stiffness and more pain. “Exercise is good for pain management for several reasons,” explains Keith M. Reagan, PT, ATC, a physical therapist at Achieve Physical Therapy in Tacoma, Wash. “Exercise helps maintain or improve range of motion strength … as well as lubricating the tissues inside the joint with synovial fluid.” Knowing you should exercise is one thing, but knowing where to begin is another. See what the experts have to say — the pros and the cons — about five popular exercise machines and hip pain.

Before You Get Started

Before beginning any exercise program, it’s important to check with your doctor first. Hip pain is not always a clear-cut issue. “Hip pain, when presented to the doctor, is never a slam dunk,” explains Paul Sueno, MD, a physiatrist and pain medicine doctor practicing in Tacoma, Wash. “There are many structures that connect the spine to the thigh. The first step is to correctly identify the location and cause of the pain.” Only then, he says, can a doctor or physical therapist help you develop the right exercise program.

Treadmill

Pros: Because walking is something people do every day, Reagan said, using a treadmill for this can be a very good, functional choice for people with hip pain. “The treadmill often has a bit of spring to the belt, reducing shock on the lower extremities and back,” he said.

RELATED: 6 Cheap, Natural, and Quick Chronic Pain Remedies

“Also, you can go as slow as you need with the adjustable speed. No real drawback for this purpose, and it is what I would recommend first.”

Cons: Dr. Sueno adds a take-it-easy warning for people with arthritis: “With jogging or running, the high-impact activity may not be helpful if low-impact is the goal.”

Elliptical

Pros: An elliptical is a low-impact exercise machine that mimics running without the high-impact and force of each step, Sueno explains. Joseph Ciotola, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, says that gentle elliptical use can be good for getting back range of motion. Make sure your doctor says that an elliptical is okay for you, though.

Cons: “The movement may not come naturally to some people,” notes Sueno. “Each person has a set stride length when walking and running, and some machines do not allow this to be changed. For those that do, the optimal stride length may not be clear.” Also, Reagan points out, the instability of the footplate could put strain on the hip.

Stationary Bike

Pros: Dr. Ciotola praises gentle cycling as “the best exercise for hip pain from arthritis,” explaining that gentle cycling allows the hips to externally rotate if needed. For those who’ve had surgery, a stationary bike is considered “good to get range of motion back, but should not be started until cleared by your doctor,” Ciotola says. “The time to return to exercise varies depending on the approach and surgeon preference.”

Cons: Care should be taken when positioning the seat on a stationary bike. If the seat is too high or too low, existing hip pain could be aggravated, cautions Sueno.

TreadClimber

Pros: This low-impact exercise machine works with the body’s natural walking stride.

Cons: If you haven’t used this type of machine before, it may take guidance and practice to learn to use it correctly, and the movement may not come naturally. Reagan notes that he does not typically recommend this machine because there’s a risk of too much compression, which can be strenuous on the hip and hard on the knees.

StairMaster

Pros: The StairMaster imposes slightly more impact on joints than walking, but this type of machine is lower impact than running or jogging, which can make it a good exercise for hip pain.

Cons: “If lowest impact is the goal, then this can stress the joints more than other machines,” notes Sueno.

6 Cardio Exercises to Help Relieve Hip Pain

Don’t Let Hip Pain Keep You From Living Your Life

It’s much easier to stay on track when you find a workout routine that works for your specific body. Plus, a consistent routine will make you finally feel like you’re making progress. But when you suffer some sort of pain or injury, that progress can be quickly knocked off track.

This is the case for many people that suffer from hip pain due to an injury. The risk for hip injury increases with age. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, over 300,000 adults over the age of 65 suffer from hip fractures each year.

It doesn’t help that many popular exercises are strenuous on the hips, including hiking, walking on uneven ground, heavy weight lifting routines, running, and a variety of sports like basketball and soccer.

But there is no need to lose your motivation and progress just because of a set-back caused by hip pain. There are many low-impact exercise options to strengthen your hips. These may help prevent an injury before it happens, and will also help keep you moving and shaking throughout your recovery.

Exercises to Strengthen Your Hips at Home

“It’s a good idea to focus on quad, hamstring, and gluteal strength,” says Kelton Vasileff, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

These muscle groups surround the hip joint and work to protect it. Working your core muscles will also help increase balance, posture and stability during movement.

“Strengthening your core helps to normalize your walking pattern and stabilize how your pelvis and hips move,” he says. These elements facilitate an increase in range of motion while minimizing pain. You can do the following easy to-do exercises anytime, anywhere so that nothing gets in your way.

Seated Knee Raise – Using a chair, sit on the edge with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. You can hold on to the edges of the seat to help with your balance. Keeping your knee bent the whole time, lift one leg about six inches off the ground. Hold for three counts, lower back to the ground with control and repeat on the other side for one rep. Do 10 reps total.

Seated Knee Raise

Seated Leg Extension – Using a chair, sit on the edge with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. Hold onto the edges of the seat for balance. Without moving your left foot and keeping your upper body stabilized, straighten your right knee so that your leg is parallel to the floor. Hold for two counts and lower back down with control until it rests in the beginning position. Repeat 10 times on your right leg and then do the same on the left.

Seated Leg Extension

Hip Hinge – Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and hand on your hips. Tighten your core and bend your knees slightly. Making sure to keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight, bend forward at the hips to lower your torso. Lower until your torso is parallel with the floor (or as far as you can go while keeping your back flat). Pause and then raise your torso back up until you are back in the starting position. Make sure you squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward as you lift to avoid strain on your lower back. Repeat for 10 reps.

Standing Hip Hinge

“When it comes to your workouts, low-impact aerobic exercises are generally best and least likely to cause issues,” Dr. Vasileff says. “I recommend swimming, walking, elliptical, cycling and stationary biking for general exercise,” he says.

The following exercises are “hip-friendly” and still provide the cardio and strengthening you want:

Swimming– A great low-impact workout, swimming allows you to work all of the muscles in your body without any harsh impact on the hips. Swimming laps lets you to control your pace throughout your workout and find what works best for you. You can also create a lot of variation by trying different strokes – butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle – to challenge your muscles and keep your workout from feeling stagnant.

Rowing – Rowing machines (or rowing in a boat) offer a full-body workout and excellent cardiovascular training with essentially no impact on the joints. Maintaining proper form allows you to work your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, back and arm muscles all in one fluid motion.

Stationary Cycling – Stationary cycling gives you a good cardiovascular workout while strengthening your quadriceps in a comfortable, controlled environment. A stationary bike will let you control your resistance level and pace while removing variables such as potentially rough terrain, inclement weather and wind.

Walking – Walking can get your heart rate going while working your muscles and joints in a natural non-strenuous way. For those suffering from hip pain it is necessary to make sure that you are walking somewhere that doesn’t have any uneven surfaces or terrain, as these can pose unforeseen dangers.

Treadmill – Since walking on an uneven surface is difficult for those with hip pain and poses the threat of potential injury, a treadmill is a great way to get the strengthening and cardiovascular benefits of walking, without any of the risk. Most treadmills allow you to adjust the speed and the incline of your workout. In fact, the NordicTrack Incline Trainer lets you take this to the extreme with a 40% grade! You can really challenge yourself and your muscles while varying your workout to keep from getting bored!

The NordicTrack Incline Trainer lets you get a great workout simply walking at a steep grade. This is a hip friendly way to break a sweat and burn some calories!

Ellipticals – An elliptical mimics the motion of running with little or no impact, making it perfect for those with hip pain. A heavier flywheel with have a more smooth and natural motion, creating ease for your body. Adjustable pedals also help control hip extension to minimize any existing pain. Front drive ellipticals are often easier to mount but may create the feeling of “leaning forward”. You can also try a rear drive elliptical, which may be a little more difficult to mount for those with mobility issues, but creates a more natural gait. Test both types to find the one that works best for you and get moving.

Another option is the ProForm Hybrid Trainer. It will allow you to work out either in the standing or seated position. A seated position mimics a reclining stationary bike, so this is like two workout machines in one! Plus, they can be purchased at a relatively inexpensive price compared to many other machines.

ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro – Read our full review here.

All of these options allow you to strengthen your hips, avoid injury and regain your mobility while recovering from prior damage.

Check out our list of Best Buy Ellipticals here to find the right machine for your body and budget.

Best Exercise Equipment for Arthritis and Knee Pain

By Brandi Swieter

Not all exercise equipment is made the same. Some proves much more harsh on the body than other options, leaving many people in a great deal of pain after use. People with arthritis or other forms of pain should stick to certain machines so they do not exacerbate their symptoms. Some of the best exercise equipment for arthritis and knee pain may not be what people expect.

Treadmills

Walking outdoors on pavement is harsh on the knees, especially for those who already struggle with knee pain. Treadmills are better for this because they absorb some of the impact and limit the amount of pressure felt on the joints and cartilage in this area of the body. Invest in a treadmill if you want a walking workout that will cause less damage to the legs.

Elliptical Trainers

To simulate stair climbing, many people turn to elliptical trainers. This option works well for people with arthritis due to the control panel that lets users dictate their level of resistance and amount of incline. The steps become less steep and more manageable on the body with the use of these controls. It reduces the risk of injury from a greater impact.

Recumbent Bike

Also known as a stationary, a recumbent bike allows users to sit upright and remain in proper posture. Thanks to the wide, cushioned seat, people using this equipment have less of a chance of damage to the hips and spine. These are often areas plagued with arthritis, so people want to be careful they are not putting too much pressure on these locations of their body.

Rowing Machine

Many people forget to consider their hands during a workout, but the wrists and hands are yet another area that can develop arthritis. Some machines may have wires to pull or weights to hold that cause discomfort in the wrists. A rowing machine with a wide bar attachment is the best option in this instance. Sitting with an upright posture helps to keep the core engaged. It is best to start at a low resistance and work up to more so users know how much weight they can handle.

Stop in at The Joint Chiropractic if the exercise equipment you’ve been using has started to take a toll on the body. A doctor of chiropractic can offer pain relief and recommendations for future exercise techniques based on any problem areas. Those suffering from arthritis and other sources of pain should only stick to this equipment and avoid other options that will cause the pain to worsen.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wyckoff, N.J.

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A recumbent bike is a cardiovascular machine that works your legs. Whenever you are moving your legs in a cycling motion, you’re using your hips. Any activity that uses your hips in a repetitive motion has the potential for causing an injury or irritation.

Anatomy

On the outside of your leg, from your hip to your knee, you have a group of connective tissue called the iliotibial band. The ITB acts as a shock absorber when you move your legs. It also helps to stabilize you when you move sideways. Your hip joint consists of a depression in the pelvis that cups the top of your leg bone. The ITB and the hip joint can become aggravated through cycling exercise.

Recumbent bikes

Because there are so many recumbent bike models, you can choose one that fits you well. Unless the machine is adjustable, you will not fit comfortably in the same machine that your foot-taller friend prefers. To avoid hip injury from improper fit, test out the bike before you use it for regular workouts.

Alignment

A recumbent bike should have adequate support in the seat so your spine is supported, and you are not tipping your hips forward or backward. An excessive forward tilt causes your back to arch, which places added stress on your hips during a ride. The seat should be at enough of a distance from the pedals that when your leg is completely extended, you have a slight bend in your knee. You should not have to shift your hips to complete a pedal revolution. The pedals should comfortably fit your feet and your feet should not slide around during the ride, which will also affect your hips.

Overuse

The most common reason for hip discomfort from recumbent cycling is repetitive use. If you ride your bike every day and continue to increase the duration of your ride, you run the risk of joint injury. Every time you bend and straighten your leg, the ITB is involved. If you are new to cycling, increase the resistance of your ride, or increase the distance, your ITB could become irritated causing pain in your hip.

Genetics

If you are still having hip discomfort from a recumbent bike and you have positioned yourself correctly, are taking days of rest or alternate exercise, or have lightened the resistance, it could be a structural abnormality that is causing the pain. Another explanation could be a muscular imbalance between the fronts and backs of your legs. Seek the guidance of your physician and always use caution with your workouts.

Never Have Bad Hip Flexors Again

Video: Improve Your Hip Flexors

Here’s a simple test: Stand and look down at your feet. If your toes point outward rather than straight ahead, your hip muscles are probably overworked and need to be stretched.Recumbent Bike Hip Pain

If you’re lucky, you won’t notice your hips are tight until you’re trying to do the Half Pigeon pose in your yoga class. But if you’re not so fortunate, your tight hips are making themselves known every time you so much as walk to the bathroom or sit on the couch-expressing themselves in the form of lower back pain and muscle stiffness. Tight hips can even shorten your stride, slowing your 5K goal time!

It’s a common issue, says Prevention advisor Rob Danoff, director of family and emergency medicine residency programs at Aria Health in Philadelphia. “For people who sit a long time at work, the hip flexors and rotators become tight, and the gluteal muscles become weak,” he says. “This combination negatively affects our ability to walk, maintain proper posture, and the stability of our spine.”Recumbent Bike Hip Pain

New York City-based yoga teacher Amanda McDonald agrees that tight hips are a widespread issue: “Hip openers are actually the most-requested moves in my yoga classes.” If you never move in certain directions, she says, you’ll reduce your range of motion over time.

What causes tight hips?

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to tight hip flexors and hip flexor pain. That’s because excessive sitting causes the muscles to relax and deactivate. They become progressively weaker and shorter, sometimes causing a painful condition called adaptive shortening.

Tight hips may also be caused by:

  • standing after long periods of sitting
  • A tipped pelvis, which creates a structural imbalance
  • Postural habits like leaning over into one hip or leaning forward into both hips when standing
  • sleeping all night on the same side of the body
  • having one leg longer than the other
  • Tight hips may also flare up when you perform lower body exercises, like squats and deadlifts.

What can you do to help prevent or reduce your risk for tight hips?

It may not be possible to prevent tight hips, but you can reduce your risk for hip pain:

  • Get up and move around every hour or so if you sit at a desk for long periods of time.
  • Warm up properly before any workout.Recumbent Bike Hip Pain
  • Stretch at the end of every workout.
  • Stretching and massage can also reduce your risk for muscle tightness and pain.

Massage helps relieve tight hips by:

  • stretching tissues that cannot be reached by foam rollers
  • breaking down scar tissue
  • increasing blood flow to tissues
  • releasing endorphins to reduce pain
  • relaxing the muscle through heat generation and circulation

Improve your Hamstrings

A regular exercise routine is critical for recovery, as well as any long-term health goals, following hip replacement surgery. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about specific exercises that you can do to strengthen your legs and make your hip joints more flexible, such as hip extensions and quadriceps setting.

There are a handful of high-impact exercises that are not allowed including contact sports, jogging, activities that involve jumping, basketball, heavy lifting, and high-impact aerobics. These activities can damage the hip or cause some of the parts to become loose. However, there are a number of lower-impact exercises for an artificial hip that aid in the healing process and can help you lose weight. It is possible to increase cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength without hurting the new hip.

Walking

Walking is one of the best exercises that you can do following hip replacement surgery. Follow your doctor’s recommendation for walking short distances with a walker, crutches, or cane until you are able to walk without an assistive device. Walking is a low-impact exercise that does not extend or strain the hip unnecessarily while still allowing you to burn calories. The average adult burns 200 calories per hour during a leisurely stroll. You can burn as much as 360 calories at a pace of four miles per hour.

Cycling

You can cycle on either a standard or stationary bicycle. If you are riding a stationary bike, adjust the seat height so that the bottom of your foot just touches the pedal with your knee almost straight. Do not attempt to ride a standard bike out on the road until you feel stable, balanced, and comfortable. You do not want to risk a fall that can re-injure your hip. For the average adult, moderate-intensity cycling burns 615 calories in an hour and an hour of stationary biking burns approximately 490 calories.

Swimming

Typically it takes about four weeks for surgical wounds to heal. Swimming reconditions the muscles that support your new hip while also burning calories. You can burn approximately 430 calories in an hour of moderate-intensity swimming. Consider taking a water aerobics class that includes specific exercises that target muscle strengthening.

Are you interested in picking up a new hobby after your hip replacement surgery? If you’re looking for something different, cross-country skiing can be a great option. While downhill skiing comes with a high risk of injury, cross-country skiing provides a rigorous workout without putting excessive strain on the hip muscles. You can burn up to 800 calories during an hour of cross-country skiing. As such, it is important to pace yourself to prevent overexertion.

If you’re looking for additional exercise options following hip replacement surgery, consider moderate weight training, riding a horse, golfing, dancing, and doubles tennis.

Best Stationary Bike for Total Knee Replacement

As a Physical Therapist, I believe the best exercise equipment following a total knee replacement (or hip replacement) depends on a few factors:

  1. Fitness level of the patient
  2. Space and budget restrictions of the patient
  3. Restrictions from physician (if any)

It is always good to ask your doctor about using exercise equipment after a total knee replacement. Certain equipment will be commonly used in Physical Therapy and may be appropriate for you to use after you’ve completed PT.

As a Physical Therapist, one of the most common questions I hear is “What equipment should I use after a total knee replacement?”

The first thing I recommend is to make sure your physician approves for you to walk unrestricted and is OK for you to use exercise bikes or ellipticals at home.

Using a Bike After a Total Knee or Hip Replacement

I generally start my total knee replacement patients on an upright bike within 2 weeks of surgery. Sometimes I’ll start them earlier – it just depends on where they are in their motion and pain level.

You’ll need at least 100 degrees of Knee Flexion to ride an upright bike comfortably. If you have less motion than this, you may need to start with “half rotations” moving forward and back until you can make a full revolution. Often times, it’s easier to start with full revolutions in reverse.

My main caution to patients is to go slowly and to avoid hiking their hips significantly. Using a recumbent bike after knee replacement surgery can be an easier way to start and usually requires less knee motion to use.

(Be sure to check with your doctor or PT about using a bike after a total hip replacement).

In many cases after a hip replacement you’ll need to follow certain precautions. This means that you’ll need to avoid moving your hip into certain directions. In this case, you may need to avoid upright bikes that stress your hip into flexion beyond 90 degrees.

A recumbent bike may be a better option for you because you can better manage your precautions while getting in and out of the bike. I’ll list a few of the best recumbent bikes below.

Exercise Parameters: How Long or intense?

Before you even consider purchasing exercise equipment after your hip or knee surgery, you should be aware of a safe approach to using the equipment. If you have a PT, you can ask them how long you should perform a cardio activity like walking, riding a bike or elliptical.

It’s helpful to have a heart rate monitor on your equipment so you can track your response to the exercise. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week, a great goal to work towards after you’ve completed your PT and are cleared to continue with exercises on your own.

Early goals for total knee replacements are to use a no resistance (if possible) and to focus on good motion for 5 to 10 minutes to start. Increasing your time to 20-30 minutes should happen gradually and safely under the recommendation of your doctor or physical therapist.

Best Recumbent Bike After Knee Replacement Surgery

Let’s take a look at the best recumbent bikes available. These are generally easier to get in and out of and are very easy for the majority of patients to use on their own.

Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike

Pros: “Sturdy” “Smooth Ride” “Comfortable” – Most of the reviews of this bike on Amazon are really high. Most people really like how comfortable the bike feels and how easy it is to use. Other perks: USB port, speaker, and media platform.

Cons: “Pretty Heavy” “1-2 hours to assemble” – It’s common to misjudge the weight of an exercise bike like the Schwinn 230. Personally, I’d rather it be sturdy than light and unsteady. As a plus, you can pay extra on Amazon and someone will arrive and assemble the bike for you.

1,270 Reviews Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike

  • Goal Track capability enables user to set individual exercise goals; 2 user profiles for multiple user set up
  • MP3 input to listen to your favorite playlist through in console speakers; Maximum User Weight 136 Kilogram
  • High speed, high inertia drive system for easy start up and smooth, quiet workouts. Dimension – 64 x 27.7 x 49.9 inches
  • DualTrack 2 LCD screen displays offer increased visibility to programs and goal tracking

Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike

Pros: “Great value” “Solid bike” “I’m 6’1” -plenty of adjustment for me” – Most of the 2,000+ reviews of this bike on Amazon are strong. Most people really like the value of the bike and how easy it is to use. Other positives: 300# weight max and 3 year warranty.

Cons: “Instructions hard to follow” “Seat is not as comfortable” – This bike is notably cheaper than some bikes, but as the saying goes, you sometimes ‘get what you pay for.’ It still does the job! Just don’t expect this bike to perform like a $700 bike!

Sale2,851 Reviews Exerpeutic 1111 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with Pulse

  • Recumbent stationary bike offers challenging cardiovascular workout while minimizing stress on your joints and back. Adjustable height
  • Eight-level Magnetic Tension Control System allows you to customize your ride and challenge yourself over time
  • Large, easy-to-read LCD display indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed, and heart rate information
  • Measures 22 by 34 by 54 inches (W x H x D) with 63-pound weight and 300-pound maximum user weight

Nautilus R614 Recumbent Bike

Pros: “Impressive” “Very nice bike” “Similar to my gym’s bike” – As with the other recumbent bikes, this option has high reviews on Amazon as well. People tend to assemble the bikes on their own within 2 hours. Other positives: USB charging port, grip heart rate monitor, speaker system.

Cons: “Prefer a upgraded seat” – The reviews of the seat comfortability varies among reviews. One of the reviewers remarked on how the seat felt unsteady, but it’s hard to pinpoint this to manufacturing error or assembly error.

392 Reviews Nautilus R614 Recumbent Bike

  • Goal Track capability enables users to set individual exercise goals
  • 22 programs: 9 profile, 8 heart rate control, 2 custom, 2 fitness test and 1 quick start
  • 20 levels of resistance for a wide range of workout intensity options
  • High speed, high inertia drive system with perimeter weighted flywheel for easy start up and smooth, consistent workouts

Best Upright Bikes

If you have a preference for using an upright bike, these may be a good option. In many Physical Therapy clinics, upright bikes are used in rehab, so if you’re comfortable with this type of setup, take a look at some of these options for upright bikes.

Schwinn AD6 Airdyne Exercise Bike

Pros: “Great bike” “Smooth ride” “Similar to my PT clinic” – I absolutely love using the Schwinn Airdyne with my patients in the clinic after their total knee replacements. While it’s a little more expensive than other bikes, it’s a fantastic bike that will last for a long time.

Cons: “Expensive” – The Airdyne is a little more expensive than the other options, but it’s no surprise that you’ll find a gym quality piece of equipment with this bike.

414 Reviews Assault AirBike Classic, Black

  • Twenty Sealed Ball Bearings throughout the frame and pivot points to provide a smooth and durable feel
  • Unlimited Resistance for upper and lower body extremities based on Air Resistance; Get a complete Cross-Fit Workout
  • Computer features motivational programs providing many programs (Tabata, Intervals, Watts, Heart Rate) to accomplish your fitness goals
  • Maximum user weight: 350 pounds . Twenty Five inch diameter steel fan delivers maximum resistance, with six way adjustable seat fore and aft, up and…

Schwinn 170 Upright Bike

Pros: “Great bike for the price” “Easy to Put Together” – I’ve had great experiences with the Schwinn brand and while this bike is one of the lower models of Schwinn, it looks well constructed and should be a solid machine for improving your mobility.

Cons: “The assembly is complicated ” – Not unlike the reviews of multiple upright bikes, the assembly on this one seems to be a little more involved than people anticipate. Expect to spend 1-2 hours putting together the bike or spend an additional $100+ on having an expert assemble it for you.

855 Reviews Schwinn Fitness 170 Upright Bike

  • – Customizable & Portable – Easily adjust the contoured seat with forearms rests and includes ergonomic handlebars feature integrated heart rate grip…
  • – Features – A high resolution, backlit DualTrack LCD screen with 29 exercise programs so you can track your progress and an adjustable 3-speed fan to…
  • – Resistance & Heart Rates – Features 25 levels of computer-aided resistance and 10 resistance quick keys with 12 profile and 9 heart rate programs…
  • – Premium Grade – Sturdy frame gives you easy access and maximum stability and has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds

Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse

Pros: “Comfortable, smooth, and quiet” “Simple Assembly” – For $130, this bike is hard to argue with on price. It gets the job done according to 5,000+ reviews on Amazon, but don’t expect it to be a top tier Physical Therapy quality bike. For the home, it seems to be a good option for those on a budget.

Cons: “Cannot swap out seat” “rubber straps for pedals are cheap” – While this bike may be easier to assemble and overall cheaper in price, it may come at the cost of fewer modifications like changing out the seat and possibly enduring some cheaper features than the other bikes listed above.

Sale7,011 Reviews Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse

  • : Supports up to 300 lbs. weight capacity which is 75 lbs. more capacity than most other folding bikes. Very easy to get…
  • : An easy to read large window (3.3”W x 1.5”H) LCD display that indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed, pulse and…
  • : Large seat cushion for people of any size. Easily adjustable to fit 5’3” to 6’1” user heights. 3 piece “high torque”…
  • : The bike can be easily folded to half of the assembled size, so it’s uniquely compact. Can be moved with the included…

Best Elliptical for Total Knee Replacement Recovery

Some of my patients ask, “Can I use an elliptical after my knee replacement?” Since ellipticals are very low impact on your joints, this should not be an issue for most people. It’s always best to check with your surgeon, especially on the timeline to return to using an elliptical.

As with any recovery from surgery, your return to using equipment like an elliptical needs to be gradual. Don’t jump on your favorite elliptical for 30 minutes as soon as you’re cleared by your doctor or PT. Ease into the equipment, increasing your tolerance by a couple of minutes each session over a couple of weeks until you’re at a comfortable level.

If you don’t have an elliptical, but are interested in purchasing an elliptical after your knee replacement (or hip replacement), check out a few of these options:

Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine

Pros: “Very Sturdy” “Highly recommend” The newest version of the Schwinn 430 is gaining traction as a very reliable elliptical that gives you a gym quality at home.

Cons: “noisy at first” The most common complaint is that the elliptical isn’t the most quiet machine on the market. Some even had to apply a lubricant to decrease the sound of the machine.

957 Reviews Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine

  • Goal Track capability enables users to set individual exercise goals
  • 22 preset workout programs: 9 profile, 8 heart rate control, 2 fitness test, 1 quick start
  • High speed, high inertia drive system for easy start up and smooth, quiet workouts
  • DualTrack 2 LCD screen displays offer increased visibility to programs and goal tracking

ProForm 150i Elliptical

Pros: “Quality Product” “Great Price” – A lot of reviews of this elliptical describe it to be a solid, smooth machine that feels great. While it’s not as large as other ellipticals (a plus for some people) it delivers a good workout at a reasonable price.

Cons: “Speaker not as loud” “Takes 2 hours to build” Like other ellipticals and bikes, you can expect to spend 1-2 hours to assemble the unit. This would be considered an entry level elliptical but certainly more advanced than some of the cheap ellipticals on Amazon.

101 Reviews ProForm 150I Elliptical

  • Front drive design, 17 inch stride length, soft grips upper body workout arms, oversized pedals, Inertia Enhanced flywheel
  • 12 resistance levels, iPod compatible audio, Transport wheels, adjust leveling feet, water bottle holder
  • iFit ready, large LCD display, 12 workout apps, EKG heart rate monitor
  • 250 pound Weight capacity

Precor EFX 576i

Pros: “Just like the one at my gym” “Great machine” – There is no question why this elliptical has all 5 star ratings on Amazon. It’s a well built, commercial quality machine that is reliable and sturdy. I personally own a Precor machine and can attest to the quality of their equipment. The ellipticals are no exception and if you want to invest in a quality machine, check out this one.

Cons: This machine is a bit expensive, so it won’t be for everyone. It’s not the cheapest machine, but it may be one of the smoothest ellipticals you’ve ever used.

26 Reviews Precor EFX 576i Premium Commercial Series Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (2009 Model)

  • Elliptical trainer with movable arms designed for rigors of commercial gym with easy-to-use, intuitive console
  • Stride lengths from 21.2 to 24.7 inches and ramp incline from 15 to 40 degrees
  • 20 levels of resistance; 14 preset programs including 3 cross training, 1 fitness test, 1 custom, 1 manual
  • Handheld heart rate monitoring with compatibility for wireless monitors

Best Exercise Equipment for Total Knee Replacement

After your knee or hip replacement, you should continue to strengthen your hip and legs based on the safe exercises you learned in Physical Therapy. Some of the most common pieces of equipment you use at the PT clinic can be purchased for less than $200 for you to use at home.

As I always like to tell my patients, your new knee will continue to feel stronger over time. Even though you’re done with PT, it’s your job to continue to strengthen it on your own. Here are some of the most common pieces of exercises equipment I recommend for people with a knee or hip replacement. (It might be helpful to have these items before your surgery so that you have them during your rehab.

Foam Roll

Usually within one day after your knee or hip replacement, you’ll start doing exercises to strengthen your quads and glutes. A foam roll is very commonly used at PT clinics to perform an exercise called “Short Arc Quads.” This is a very effective exercise used to engage the quadriceps muscle, a primary muscle that is used with walking and standing. Simply place the foam roll under your knee and extend your knee to straighten it.

Balance Pad

One very important element of rehab after a total joint replacement is to improve your balance. You might use an Airex Balance Pad at rehab, which is a soft square pad that provides an uneven surface. This is a good challenge to your joints and helps to improve your balance. If you decide to purchase one of these for home use, be sure to set it up in an area where you can use arm support as you need in order to avoid falling.

Ankle Weights

Using ankle weights is reserved for later in your rehab. When you are ready to start using resistance into approved movements, it might be convenient to add ankle weights to your home exercise equipment list. I like to recommend the ankle weights with adjustable weight slots, which is usually cheaper and more convenient than storing multiple sizes of weights.

Ice Packs

Your doctor may or may not provide you with an ice machine after your surgery. Ice is used to help decrease swelling, inflammation, and to help with pain. Your PT may recommend the use of ice at home, so if you’re looking for the same kinds of ice packs used in PT clinics, here is a link to the ones I use in my clinic.

A Final Word on Exercise Equipment

Do you absolutely need to purchase this equipment after your joint replacement? No, people often see good results by using equipment at the rehab clinic. But it’s up to them to continue with exercises on their own.
If you want to save money on gym fees, look at some of the above recommendations. If you see the value in following the American Heart Association’s recommended guidelines of 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week, then a bike or elliptical may something you give serious consideration.

What questions do you have for me?

By K. Aleisha Fetters, DETAILS

Photo: Getty Images

Exercise machines are simple — too simple, in fact. According to metabolic training expert BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S. owner of StreamFIT.com, “They’ve been dumbed down to the point that they just don’t do your body much good.” Besides parking you on your butt, most machines isolate a single muscle, meaning you’ll burn fewer calories and gain less muscle mass rep for rep.

Most importantly (at least as far as medical bills are concerned), exercise machines can lead to injury. Even with their adjustable seats and pegs, finding the proper position can be close to impossible — and even then the movements just aren’t natural. “Free weights and bodyweight exercises allow your body to move in a natural range of motion,” Gaddour says. “When you fix it, it results in a limited and improper movement pattern that can be dangerous.”

See more: 14 Healthiest Snack Foods to Buy

Here, Gaddour shares five exercise machines you should swear off — and all-star alternatives that will give you better, faster fitness gains.

1. The Machine: Lying Leg Press
Your legs are strong (after all, they carry your body around all day), so if you lie down with your legs above your head for a leg press, you have to load more than the equivalent of your bodyweight onto the machine to achieve significant resistance, Gaddour says. Problem is, all that weight goes straight to your lower back, which flexes under the pressure. The risk? A herniated disk. Plus, the move doesn’t even work any of the stabilization muscles in the hips, glutes, shoulders, or lower back. The result: All pain and barely any gain.

Try This Instead: Goblet Squats
Apart from working just about your entire lower body in a single move, this squat variation involves holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest to keep your form in check and the weight off of your lower back. Sometimes, a lighter load delivers a better burn.

2. The Machine: Seated Leg Extension
Since the weight is placed so close to your ankles, the machine puts undue torque on the knee joint, which can wear down cartilage and cause knee pain, Gaddour says. Plus, the common gym contraption is built around a motion that has little real-life benefit.

Try This Instead: Step Ups
Besides working your quads far better than any machine, step ups also train your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. By calling up more muscles, your knees are actually strengthened, not worn down.

3. The Machine: Seated Chest Press
While sitting is less than useful, the bigger problem here is that the machine can cause lopsided muscles. How? If one arm is weaker, the stronger one can end up doing all the work — and getting all the benefit, Gaddour says. To make sure both sides of your chest are strengthened equally, you need to load them separately.

Try This Instead: Pushups
An oldie but a goodie, pushups equally engage both sides of your chest. If it didn’t, you’d fall right over onto your side. What’s more, they tap your core for support and balance. After all, hot bodies aren’t built on chests alone.

4. The Machine: Hip Abductor/Adductor
If it looks ridiculous, it probably is, Gaddour says. And squeezing your thighs together — or pushing them apart — over and over definitely counts. Besides actually working very few muscles, it also strains the spine and can make the IT band so tight it pulls your knee cap out of place — not a good look for anybody.

Try This Instead: Single-Leg Squat
When you’re not in the gym, your inner and outer thighs largely work to maintain stability. So they should do the same thing when you’re in the gym, right? Single leg exercises — like the single-leg bodyweight squat — require those muscles to brace your body and keep you upright, all while putting your quads, glutes, and hamstrings to good use.

5. The Machine: Loaded Standing Calf Raise
While the idea here is to lift weight with your calves, the machine’s setup — specifically the shoulder pads — means that all the weight presses down on your spine before it ever reaches your legs. If it doesn’t turn you into a hunchback, it’ll at least cause you some back pain.

Try This Instead: Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise
If regular standing calf raises don’t have the resistance you need, try standing on one foot during your next set. Besides doubling the weight each calf has to lift at a time, it also puts your legs’ smaller, stabilizing muscles to work.

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Cycling and Arthritis: Why Cycling Is Good for Your Joints, and How to Get Started

Nope, exercise is not going to make your joints feel worse. And yes, you can still ride a bike with arthritis.

In fact, you should: Cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise, says Lauren Shroyer, MS, senior director of product development at the American Council on Exercise. Cycling can strengthen your heart and lungs, as well as improve muscle function.

And studies show cycling may help reduce arthritis symptoms: A study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found both cycling exercise training and swimming significantly reduced joint pain, stiffness, and physical limitations, and enhanced quality of life in middle-aged and older adults with osteoarthritis (OA). Another small study found patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who exercised on stationary bikes regularly improved their aerobic fitness and blood pressure and reported fewer tender joints.

Another bonus for people with arthritis: Regular aerobic exercise can boost your mood and help you sleep better.

Why Cycling Is Good for Your Joints

Number one: less joint stress. “Cycling is a low-impact exercise,” says Shroyer. This means that cycling limits impact stress on weight-bearing joints, like your hips, knees, and feet. Plus, the movement helps lubricate the joints, which reduces pain and stiffness. Other benefits of bicycling include:

Weight control: Excess pounds can exacerbate inflammatory arthritis, as well as put increased pressure on your joints, particularly your knees.

Adjustable intensity: Bicycling can be done at a wide range of intensities. If you tend to go a little slower, you can coast once in a while, or use the lower gears to ease the burden on your legs. Research has shown in people with knee osteoarthritis, low-intensity cycling is as effective as high-intensity cycling in improving function and gait, decreasing pain, and boosting aerobic fitness.

Muscle strengthening: When the bike’s pedal resistance is moderate, it not only promotes range of motion at the hip and knee, but also strengthens your quadricep muscles (on the front of your thighs), says Shroyer. Pedaling works your glutes and hamstrings (on the back of your thigh), to a lesser degree. Strong muscles help support and protect your joints.

Which Is Better for Arthritis: Indoor or Outdoor Cycling?

Unless balance is a concern, both have excellent benefits, says Shroyer. “Indoor cycling offers adjustable resistance options and a climate-controlled atmosphere,” say says. Indoor bikes are safer if you have balance problems, and can provide aerobic exercise for those who can’t walk well. “Outdoor cycling, on the other hand, offers change in scenery and naturally variable resistance,” adds Shroyer.

How to Choose an Indoor Bike with Arthritis

Upright stationary bicycles are similar to traditional outdoor bikes. They have handles, pedals and a small bicycle seat, all set on a stationary platform. On an upright bike, you work the same muscles as you would in an outdoor ride, which is more of a whole-body exercise. Some stationary bicycles may have lower handles, which require the rider to lean forward. “This may be uncomfortable for people with neck, back, or upper extremity arthritis,” says Shroyer. A stationary bike with higher handles allows you to sit more upright.

Recumbent stationary bikes have a larger, chair-like seat. These bikes are easier on your lower back and hips because you sit back into the frame, in a more comfortable, reclined position. Recumbent bikes are often easier to get on and off because they’re lower to the ground, explains Shroyer, but may require far more range of motion at the hip than upright bikes.

The best way to find the right bike for you: Spend time on each bike at your gym to see which feels best for you, says Shroyer. Ask a personal trainer for help setting the seat in the proper position.

How to Choose an Outdoor Bike with Arthritis

Step one: Fit your bike. Take your bike to a local shop to ensure you have the right fit. A professional can also suggest adjustments to accommodate your condition. For example, if you have knee pain, you may feel more comfortable with your seat in an elevated position, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

If you have upper body, neck, or back pain, a hybrid-style bike with high handlebars may be a better choice, says Shroyer. You can sit more upright, which may ease pain. Another option: an outdoor recumbent bike. A professional bike fitting will ensure that you are seated optimally for your hip and knee range of motion.

Tips Before You Start Cycling with Arthritis

If you’re new to exercise, it’s always smart to first talk to your doctor. Consider the current limits of your joints, and work within those limits. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help determine if cycling is safe for you, and how to incorporate it into an exercise plan that gives you the most benefit without aggravating your joint pain. More tips to help protect your joints:

Move gently. Move your joints gently at first to warm up. You might begin with range-of-motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before you move on to aerobic exercise.

Get the right gear. If you’re riding outdoors, always wear a bike helmet, along with eye protection (like simple sunglasses) and brightly colored clothing. Also consider bike gloves to protect your hands from vibration, or from injury if you fall. Map your route before heading out. Dedicated bike trails help keep you separated from traffic.

Start with a short ride. Begin with five or 10 minutes at a low resistance. Go easy at first, then gradually increase the length and intensity of your ride as you progress. Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise per week (that’s 30 minutes, five times a week). You can split that time into 10-minute blocks if that’s easier on your joints. To determine if you are in the moderate intensity exercise zone, you should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising, though your breathing rate will be increased.

Stop if anything hurts. Listen to the pain, advises Shroyer. Take a break when your joints start to ache, or change gears to lessen the resistance on hills, for example. “Sharp changes in intensity can add stress to the patellofemoral joint and increase inflammation in the knee,” says Shroyer. “Don’t be shy about walking your bike up a hill you overestimated.” If feel any new joint pain, it’s time to stop. Talk to your doctor about what pain is normal and when it’s a sign of something more serious.

Stretch every day. If you have a flare of RA or an increase in OA pain, you should still stay active. Some simple stretching may diminish some of the pain.

Keep Reading

  • Arthritis Joint Pain: 18 Ways to Get Relief
  • Your Morning Routine with Arthritis: 20 Hacks to Make It Easier
  • Gentle Yoga Exercises for Arthritis

10 Tips to Avoid a Sore Hip When Cycling

A mutual pain point among cyclists are sore hips. Don’t be embarrassed, hip pain when cycling is extremely common. While extreme pain or damage should be taken up with a healthcare professional, there are some smart tips to nip this problem in the bud. The hips are the real control power of your pedal strokes, so it pays to take care of this muscle.

Today we discuss 10 ways on how to get rid of hip pain, as gently as possible.

Don’t wear an undergarment while riding on a bike

We’ll start off with attire. Wearing a cotton undergarment while riding a bicycle can cause rashes and itching due to constant sweating. To avoid hip soreness it’s better to get rid of ordinary cotton undergarments, consider a padded bike shorts instead.

Wear the right shorts for cycling

Choosing a right fabric for cycling means a lot, and will show signs immediately. Wearing right a short is necessary for cycling. To avoid hip soreness wear shorts that fit to your bum, so that it will not touch your genitals and cause friction. A good pair of padded cycling shorts will protect your hip muscles, inner part of thighs, and genitals.

Make sure that the shorts are not too tight so they start irritating, or too loose so they look a bit … ahem … in appropriate with some areas hanging out like a duck. Pick out the right size that fits you with comfort, always try out your cycling shorts before buying them.

Get the Right Saddle

One of the most common reasons for hip and back pain is cycling with the wrong saddle. Not every saddle is meant for everyone, just because it looks cool doesn’t mean it will suit you. Consider replacing the saddle with either a softer one or one that suits your backside perfectly. You can also choose a soft cushion to cover your saddle.

Place a seat cushion on your saddle

Placing a soft cushion over your saddle will reduce the chances of friction while you are sitting on a bike cycle as it reduces direct contact of the harsh material with your hips and provides you better shock resistance.

These saddle cushions are made with both foam and silicone gel to act as shock buffers. You can choose either one as long as you are not a pro rider and it should work out perfectly for you.

Use chamois creams

Using chamois cream on your hips can give you a comforting feeling as it reduces the rash on the hips due to friction.

Strength Imbalance Issues

There is a chance you may be experiencing strength imbalance issues. Usually, I push the pedal with my dominant right leg than the left, which is completely normal. A little strength training can fix this imbalance. You need to get all your muscles to be strong and on the same level to avoid one of them getting too strong.

I have noticed some everyday cyclists develop their quads more than their back and hip muscles. Pushing solely with your legs causes erratic movements in the back and hips causing pain when you end your ride. Consider training your muscles, you should perform the following at the gym to strengthen your legs and hips:

  1. Squats
  2. Lateral raises
  3. Dead lifts

You can also go weight free with Split Squats and Lateral Squats. I highly recommend asking a gym trainer to guide you, don’t want anyone to get injured after reading my article.

Carefully Adjust the Handlebar Height

This individual preference normally varies between 0 CM & 10 CM below the seat height. Riders who are less flexible and fairly new to cycling can choose handlebar height at zero cm, while a normal racer can as much as 10 CM. If you experience back and hip pain, raising the bars to some extent may provide additional comfort.

Increase your Mileage Slowly

Whether you are a beginner or a skilled cyclist ramping up for a future race, increasing your mileage too fast can cause hip pain or muscle damage. If your muscles aren’t trained to handle the pressure of the activity will come at the cost of muscle aches, more precisely bum aches.

Try a Higher Cadence

If you are continually shifting gears, you could be overburdening your muscles including the lower back and hips. Once they get fatigued, difficulty can cause pain while you’re on the bicycle. Don’t change gears too often, drive with a higher cadence and shift gradually over time as your muscles build up intensity.

Stretch Before Beginning the Ride

Like every other sport its essential to do a few stretching exercises before you’re on your way. Here are 3 excellent stretching exercises demonstrated by Saqib Nisar of the Royal City Physio (apologies for the really bad background noise):

In her article on I Love Bicycling, Sarah Lauzé, also lists three very effective hip stretches to get you ready for the ride so do have a look.

See You Again Soon

I hope you enjoyed my ten tips to avoid a sore hip when cycling. If they did help you out then be sure to share the article with your friends. Do remember to check out the web store for some cool cycling gear and bike accessories to add style to your rides.

If I missed something out leave a comment and I will add it to the countdown. Until next time, see you again soon.

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