If you have recently had knee surgery or suffered an injury, you may be wondering what knee rehabilitation exercises can be done on a treadmill. Although you may be anxious to return to your former fitness activities, you need to ensure that you take the proper time and precautions to properly recover first. Treadmills are an excellent option and one that can be used soon into your recovery process, as long as you are following the recommended advice of your doctor or physiotherapist.
Benefits of Using a Treadmill for Knee Rehabilitation
Keeping your ligaments and muscles active after an injury will help promote a fast recovery. Treadmills are frequently recommended and used for knee rehabilitation because of their low impact and that their rails can be used to shift some of your body weight to your arms, to reduce pressure on the knee. Being able to track progress and increase the pace or distance of your exercise as you progress is helpful to monitor your results and overall recovery.
Treadmills can be used for so much more than just walking or running and there are a number of effective strengthening exercises which can be performed:
Backwards Mountain Climbers
This variation places emphasis on kicking your legs back instead of driving your knees in. Set the treadmill to a pace of 1-2 mph and get into a plank position, facing away from the machine. Place your feet on the sides of the treadmill base and your hands on the floor. Then, bring your feet onto the treadmill and drive one knee into your chest as the other leg extends back and alternate back and forth.
This is a great cardio exercise that tones and strengthens your entire leg. To begin, stand sideways on the treadmill with your knees bent slightly. Set the pace between 3-5 mph and begin to quickly side shuffle, being careful to land on the balls of your feet. After several minutes, switch sides.
Although it may feel funny at first trying to walk like a crab on your treadmill, it is a fantastic rehabilitation exercise. Set the pace to 1-2 mph and go behind the treadmill and get into a ‘crab’ position. Put each hand on the side of the treadmill base, facing away from the treadmill and your back facing the ground. With your hips elevated and feet firmly planted on the floor, place your hands onto the treadmill belt and walk your hands forward.
Speed and Incline Recommendations
If you are recovering from knee surgery or an injury, speak to your doctor or therapist before beginning your treadmill workout routine. They will suggest what speed you should begin at and if you should use any incline. Although the exercise may seem very easy at first, do not rush into increasing the speed or resistance. Your knee needs time to heal and strengthen – aggressively pushing yourself sooner than recommended can cause a setback to your recovery or even worse, cause a more serious injury.
Treadmills are one of the most popular types of home exercise equipment, largely due to their versatility and ability to provide a complete cardiovascular workout. Some of the health benefits of cardiovascular exercise includes:
● Increased bone density
● Stronger lungs and heart
● Weight loss
● Reduces stress
● Reduces risk of heart disease
● Increases energy levels
● Helps you sleep better
● Can help reduce symptoms of depression
The American Heart Association recommended at least 30 minutes of moderate level intensity cardio activity at least five times per week for adults. Whether walking, running or using your treadmill for a high-intensity interval workout, you can change your routines frequently so that you do not get bored. Just remember to take it slow during your knee rehabilitation and don’t be too hard on yourself if you are unable to temporarily perform as challenging of a workout as you were before your injury.
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