Get Your Blood Pumping (Even With Bad Knees)

The Fast Metabolism Diet isn’t about counting calories or endless, mind-numbing workouts – but cardio exercises play an important role in Phase 1 and in repairing your metabolism. It also reminds your body how to do what it does best: Move! But what if you have hip, knee, or other lower-body problems that keep you from walking or running? Don’t worry. You can still give your body what it needs!

Cardio is important for fat loss

Cardio increases blood flow to the visceral or dense fat, and increases the body’s temperature upping the thermogenic effect or “fat melting ability.”  This is especially important in individuals with hormone imbalances such as menopause or thyroid disorders.  When your hormones are off, your basal body temp can decrease, and your body’s natural defense is to provide a little natural layer of fat to keep you warm.

Your weekly cardio workout teaches your body to burn rich carbohydrates and natural sugars as fuel again, and ignites the torch that we want for your metabolism!

Workouts for those with lower body issues

Even if a disability, injury of mobility problem makes jogging or dance classes impossible, you can still find ways to get your heart pumping. As always, check with your doctor or physical therapist before trying a new cardio exercise routine.

Dive in

Even if you can’t walk on dry land, you might be able to log some miles in the pool. The water supports your weight, makes movement easier, cools you down, and offers resistance to make the workout more challenging – all at the same time! So go ahead and swim a few laps, go water walking, or take the plunge and sign up for an aqua Zumba class.

Hit it!

No pool? No problem! Try shadow boxing instead. Start with your bare hands and, once you feel yourself getting stronger, add a pair of light boxing gloves for an extra challenge. You can do this sitting or standing. If you’re looking for some inspiration, grab a Tae Bo DVD (or watch one on YouTube) and do all the upper body moves. Or think of something that stresses you out and imagine you’re beating it into submission!

Good old calisthenics

If you struggle with high-impact workouts, calisthenics like squat jumps and jumping jacks probably aren’t for you. But you can still do the upper half – the arm half – of those jumping jacks, or do all the arm moves from your favorite Zumba or Bollywood dance video. If that’s not enough of a challenge, put the boxing gloves on again or hold 1-pound weights.

Try a handcycle

If you have a gym membership, ask if the gym has a handcycle – more properly known as an upper body ergometer – or can get one. This machine is exactly what it sounds like, a bike you pedal with your hands. It’s also one of the very best ways of getting an intense cardio workout with your upper body only. Your physical therapist may also have access to one of these machines, so ask.