Low Impact Sports To Strengthen Knees

Low Impact Sports To Strengthen Knees

This article was written by Chris Marshall

We all know that exercise is extremely beneficial for our physical and mental health… But if you suffer from knee pain, finding the best knee-friendly exercises and sports can be difficult.

Luckily, there are several low impact sports that are fun and safe for people with bad knees, and many of them help to strengthen your knees as well!

Before we get into it, it’s important to note that knee pain can be very complex and can be caused by many different factors. Therefore it’s very important to consult a doctor before engaging in any new activities or starting a new workout routine if you have joint pain or inflammation in your knees.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the top sports with the least injuries that can help you strengthen your knees and reduce your risk of injury!

Benefits of Exercise to Strengthen Knees

man leaning against wall demonstrating knee stretch

Regular physical activity is good for your body in many ways – including strengthening your muscles and jointslowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levelsreducing your risk of disease, and improving your overall mood.

When it comes to preventing and treating knee pain, however, there’s some evidence that suggests light to moderate exercise might actually have a healing effect by strengthening the muscles and connective tissue in your joints.[1]

Strengthening your muscles and connective tissues helps to protect your joints and keep them flexible, which in turn reduces pain and increases mobility

However, it’s important to start slowly and build up gradually in order to prevent further injury or discomfort. While it should feel slightly uncomfortable at first, you should feel no pain while exercising and you should stop if you feel any pain or difficulty completing an exercise.

But what are the best exercises to strengthen knees? Fortunately, there are a variety of exercises that are gentle on the joints and can help you strengthen the muscles in your knees without causing pain. Here’s a look at a few of the best ones…

Exercises to Strengthen Knees

Woman in deep lunge demonstrating knee exercise

Strengthening your knees is less daunting than it seems, and the benefits of doing so more than outweigh the effort… It won’t take long for your knees to get back to normal if you practice these exercises consistently!

Wall Sits

Wall sits are one of the most common and effective exercises for strengthening the knees because they work the entire leg, including the quadriceps and hamstrings. Plus, they can be done anywhere – all you need is a wall and some space to get down to a squat position!

To perform wall sits, simply stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart against the wall and then bend your legs until you’re in a sitting position with your thighs parallel to the ground. 

You should keep your back straight and maintain a neutral spine to prevent lower back pain. Hold the position for as long as you can, then slowly stand up and return to starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions or until you start to feel fatigued.


Lunges are another great exercise that can help strengthen the muscles around the knee and increase flexibility. They are a little bit more advanced than wall sits so you’ll need to start small and gradually work your way up. You can perform lunges with or without weights or resistance bands for added intensity.

Start by standing with your feet together and then stepping one leg back into a lunge position with your knee almost touching the ground. Make sure to keep your front knee in line with your ankle and keep your hips level throughout the movement. 

Hold the position for a second or two, then return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. You can continue alternating legs for as many repetitions as you like or until you feel fatigued.

Straight Leg Lifts

The straight leg lift is one of the easier exercises that can help improve the health of your knee joints. It targets the quadriceps muscles in your legs and can increase strength and range of motion in the knee joint

It’s one of the first exercises recommended to people following knee surgery because it doesn’t require a lot of coordination or balance to perform. In fact, you’ll need to lie on your back on the floor for this one! Here’s how to perform a straight leg lift:

Lie flat on your back with one knee bent at a 90-degree angle with your other leg resting comfortably on the ground. Start by tensing the muscles in your quadricep (the muscle at the front of the thigh) and lifting your lower leg a few inches off the ground. Hold this position for about 5 seconds then slowly lower your leg back to the starting position. Repeat with the right leg and do a total of five repetitions with both legs before moving on to the next exercise.

Side Leg Raises

Side leg raises are very similar to the Straight Leg Lifts described above, but this exercise requires a little more balance and coordination.

To perform it, begin by lying on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other. Place one hand on your hip to help stabilize your body and hold the other hand out to the side at arm’s length. Slowly raise your top leg a few inches off the bottom and hold it there for about 5 seconds. Then lower the leg back down and repeat for a set number of repetitions before switching to the other side.

This is another exercise that does not require much strength or endurance, so it can be performed daily to help strengthen the muscles around your knees and improve joint mobility!


Perhaps one of the more self-explanatory exercises on the list, this exercise focuses on working the quads and strengthening the knee itself. It also helps improve balance and coordination, which can help reduce the risk of falling and injuring yourself, which can be especially problematic if you already have weak knees.

To perform a step-up, you’ll need to find a raised surface such as a curb or stairs, on which you can stand on one foot while holding the other off the ground.

Start with your left foot flat on the ground and step up onto the elevated surface so that your weight is supported entirely by your right foot. Lower your left leg to the ground and repeat as many times as you see fit. Switch to your right foot and perform the same movements until you’ve completed the desired number of repetitions.

So there you have a list of simple knee-strengthening exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home to help improve strength and flexibility and prevent injury. 

But what about if you want to do something a little more intense? How do you do that without causing more damage to your knees than good? And what are some of the best low impact sports for knee pain? Well, that’s what we’re going to be talking about next!

Low Impact Sports For Knee Pain

3 people cycling

When it comes to sports and knee pain, sometimes the best solution is to choose a low impact activity. Fortunately for those looking for an active lifestyle, there are plenty of options that won’t wreak havoc on your knees! Why not try some of the following low impact sports?

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that combines a series of gentle movements and poses to improve physical health and reduce stress. It has been practiced by millions of people around the world for thousands of years and can be practiced by people of all ages and abilities. 

It is traditionally practiced in a group setting, but these days it is available in many forms including group classes, DVDs, and online videos as well as apps designed for mobile devices. The great thing about Tai Chi is that it doesn’t require any equipment other than your own body so you can practice it just about whenever and wherever you want!

Another benefit of Tai Chi is that it is very gentle on the joints, so it can be performed by anyone, even those with existing injuries or joint pain. It is also known to help improve balancecoordinationand posture which can help improve joint health and reduce the likelihood of further injury from occurring!


Perhaps one of the most well known low impact sports is cycling which is a great way to get active and get plenty of exercise without having to put too much pressure on your joints. Not only is it great for strengthening the muscles in your legs but it’s also a good way to improve your cardiovascular health and help boost your metabolism. It’s also a fantastic way to get out and enjoy the outdoors and get some much-needed fresh air!

Another good thing about cycling is that there are many different options depending on your current level of fitness. For example, if you live in a particularly hilly area, you could always get an electric bike which makes it even easier to get around without having to worry about putting too much strain on your knees.

Or if you don’t feel confident enough to take to the roads just yet, you could start riding a stationary bike at home or in the gym. Either way, it’s a great way to get active and stay fit!


Like Tai Chi, Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that is not only good for the mind but also for the body. The practice has been proven to improve flexibility and strengthincrease circulation, and lower blood pressure by reducing stress and anxiety.

Yoga is practiced by thousands of people of all ages all over the world so if you’re looking for a way to be more active, there are plenty of different types of Yoga to suit every age and ability!

Why not try a local yoga class, or check out one of the thousands of great yoga videos available online? They’re all free and are a great place to start if you want to get into yoga but are not sure where to start!


Although not strictly a “low impact” sport, golf can be a fun and gentle way to stay fit especially if you don’t enjoy competitive sports.

It’s a good way to unwind and it can help you relieve stress and relax your mind which is great for your mental health as well as your physical health. It’s also a great social activity so you’re bound to make new friends if you’re interested in joining a club and playing with others.

Not only that but a 2016 study showed that golfers typically burnt a minimum of 500 calories over 18 holes and those walking the course could cover 4-8 miles without even realizing it! [2]

So even if it’s just a weekly round with your mates, it’s still a great way to burn some calories and have some fun at the same time!

Horseback Riding

As a hobby, horseback riding offers an activity that is physically and mentally challenging and also provides a feeling of freedom like no other. It is also a great way to keep fit and tone your muscles while enjoying the great outdoors.

Because riding a horse uses so many different muscles, including your glutes, legs, and back, it can be a really effective way to strengthen your core and improve your posture.

It also strengthens the smaller muscles in your lower legs and ankles which helps to improve balance and agility – both of which can reduce the risk of falls later in life.


Rollerblading is a unique and exciting way to get your heart pumping and burn fat while having fun outdoors! Not only that but because it’s such a low-impact activity, it can be enjoyed by people of all levels of fitness and fitness experience making it a great option for people who want to get into exercise but don’t know where to start.

Of course, it goes without saying that the most important thing is to make sure you’re wearing protective gear, such as a helmet, knee pads, and wrist guards at all times and that you stay safe. After all, there’s no point in using rollerblading as a low impact activity to help your knees, if you end up injuring yourself because you didn’t take appropriate precautions!

But what about if you don’t want the hassle of going outside to exercise? Well, the good news is that you don’t need to get active outdoors in order to get the benefits associated with regular exercise. Thankfully there are a whole host of low impact water sports that you can enjoy! We’ve listed a few of our favorites below…


Low Impact Water Sports

man swimming in a pool

Low impact water sports provide hours of fun and entertainment in a sociable environment, with reduced risk of injury due to their gentler nature!


Although swimming is a low impact water sport it still provides a great workout for the whole body! And because you don’t get the resistance that you get when exercising on land, it’s a great choice for people who aren’t very fit or who haven’t exercised for a while.

The water is a great way of helping you to build up your muscle strength and improve stamina as it gently supports your body allowing you to gradually increase the intensity of your workout over time.

Rowing, Kayaking, and Canoeing

Rowing is a great cardiovascular workout that works most of the major muscle groups in the body and strengthens the upper body as well as the core – all important components of a strong and healthy body.

Due to its low impact nature, it’s also a great option for those with knee issues as it’s less jarring on the joints than activities such as running. You can also use a rowing machine indoors which is a great option if you live in a cold climate where you don’t want to go outside to get active!

Kayaking and canoeing are also great activities that provide a low impact full-body workout while at the same time allowing you the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. Both these activities are aerobic in nature which means they help improve your cardiovascular fitness and strengthen your heart.

Water Aerobics

Another water-based exercise option that you could consider is water aerobics. This form of exercise uses a pool and allows you to perform a variety of cardio-based exercises while also working the muscles of the arms and legs. 

The great thing about this type of exercise is that because it’s performed in the water your body doesn’t experience any impact, therefore, making it suitable for people with a wide range of fitness levels. Plus, it’s a fun and social way to exercise so you’ll make new friends at the same time!

So there we have it, everything you need to know about low impact sports that can help strengthen your muscles and reduce knee pain! Make sure you try a few of these out yourself… Your knees will thank you!

And if you’re looking for another way to relieve your knee pain and recover quickly after an injury, then you may be interested to learn about our Move+ red light therapy device!

This device uses red and infrared light to help reduce inflammation and promote healing in your knee, making it easier to recover from injuries so you can get back to doing the things you love as quickly as possible!

Red light therapy (or photobiomodulation) is a safe and painless treatment that helps reduce pain and promote healing at the cellular level, meaning that it can help speed up the healing process following an injury or procedure such as knee surgery, allowing you to get back on your feet faster.

And with our Move+ device, you’ll never have to worry about costly and time-intensive visits to the doctor – all you need to do is simply sit comfortably for up to 15 minutes per day using this simple portable device and you’ll be well on your way to a full recovery in no time!

Interested? Just click below to learn more about the Move+ and how it can help support your knees and other joints with a powerful blend of red and infrared light therapy today!

For more on how red light therapy help you recover from knee injury, read:

Click Here To Find Out More About The Move+!


1 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5074793/

Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall

Job Title: Health and Fitness Content Writer
Location: United Kingdom
Bio: Chris Marshall is an experienced health and fitness writer with a passion to empower others to achieve better health and well-being through meaningful lifestyle changes.

With a background in nutrition and fitness, Chris aims to deliver science-based, informative content to educate others.

Alongside health and fitness writing, he also works with private online clients to build positive lifestyle habits and improve their overall well-being.

About Kineon

Bringing the latest advancements in enhanced red light therapy for home use. Our mission is to get you back on your feet and moving pain-free.