For the past month I’ve been filming Facebook Live videos talking about working out with yoga when you’re over 40 and have bad knees. There are some simple yoga moves you can also do. If you missed the 3 videos that I’ve done, I’m including them at the end of this post.
I LOVED running – at least after I got through the first 5 minutes. The problem with that is that I ran on my local streets which of course, are asphalt. I learned the hard way when I felt something pop in my knee. I ignored it thinking it was just a pull or strain and it would heal, but guess what? It didn’t and it just got worse and worse. By the time I did go to the doctor, he immediately referred me to an orthopedic surgeon and he told me that I needed surgery right away. My meniscus was torn and I had a slight fracture in my right knee. I had the surgery within the month and was on crutches for 6 weeks, but the good news was that I could go back to my active lifestyle and workouts, including running. Everything was good for about a year when I felt pain in my left knee. I had learned my lesson and booked an appointment with the same orthopedic surgeon. The news this time was worse and he had the surgeon who performs total knee replacements come in to talk to me. My meniscus wasn’t just torn this time – it was gone. He would try a series of shots into the knee to try to rebuild some cartilage but after 4 painful shots, over 4 weeks, it didn’t do anything and I was scheduled for total knee replacement surgery. I was in shock and even the doctors told me that I was young to have this but the fact was I had to have it. To say I was devastated is an understatement but I had the surgery; worked hard in physical therapy to recover and dealt emotionally with all of it. I was told that I could never do any high impact workouts again and the only running I could do was if someone was chasing me for my life.
Well, for what it’s worth, I’ve learned to live with it and am back to working out – even doing child’s pose in my yoga workouts when my physical therapist told me I wouldn’t be able to. It’s at this point I decided to take my personal trainer background and focus on helping women over 40 (who are reaching the age where they can start having knee problems) get healthy and learn that just because they have bad knees they can still workout and stay healthy.
I’ve learned to modify any exercises that require running or jumping. You can modify a jumping jack by stepping out to the side with one leg and bringing it back in and repeat with the other leg. The best exercise that you can do to strengthen you knees so that they stay strong, are those dreaded squats. Just don’t go down too low. Lunges are great too but you shouldn’t step back as far and go down as low as a regular lunge. And don’t forget to keep you knee behind your toes on that bent forward leg.
I know that Zumba is big now but it can be hard on your knees – all the twisting and turning. So, if you do Zumba, be careful of your knees. Yoga is one of the best things you can do for your balance and stability. Most older people who fall and break something, do so because they have lost their sense of balance. Try Tree pose in Yoga to work on your balance and triangle pose will also help.
There are also times that you have to modify your behavior because of your knees. I was at a convention a while ago and they had a party on an aircraft carrier. When we got there I looked up at the three flights of stairs and realized that I could make it up all of them but after I did, I’d be miserable and have to sit the rest of the evening and not enjoy the party. Instead, I asked if there was an elevator and was directed to one without hesitation or an explanation. There is nothing wrong with asking for assistance if you need it rather than suffer later.
So, below are the video where I talk about what you can do and then 2 that demonstrate how to modify some exercises and a simple yoga routine anyone with bad knees can do. Take care of those knees now so you don’t have to suffer later!