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8 PROVEN exercises to lose belly fat with bad knees (TESTED)

Do you have bad knees? So do I. 

Years of playing basketball have worn out my knees’ shock absorbers.

I stopped playing, which made me sedentary and developed a big gut.

I had to lose my pot belly because, as you know, belly fat kills.

This is how to lose belly fat with bad knees.

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Why you should lose belly fat with bad knees

lose belly fat with bad knees
Bad knee is bad

It’s essential to lose your gut, especially when you have bad knees. If you don’t do anything about it now, when you are still able, your chance of success grows exponentially.

If you don’t, and your belly, your body, keeps growing, it’s almost impossible to get back into shape with bad knees.

Not to mention that one of the leading causes of death in the world is obesity. Your belly fat is killing you. 

Make this day the day you get up the couch, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and destroy your belly fat.

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How to lose belly fat with bad knees

It’s hard to lose belly fat with bad knees because you have limited movement. However, your bad knees won’t go away and the same goes with your belly.

Losing weight is all about diet and exercise. But, when you have bad knees, exercising becomes difficult. So, what do you do?

Ideally, watching your diet closely will yield better results. To prevent stiffness and to keep pumping blood to your cartilages, you have to keep moving.

But, you don’t have to sprint or do 1000 burpees. Focus on low impact activities, such as swimming and walking. 

Exercises to lose belly fat with bad knees

Here are the exercises you can start doing to lose inches off your waist, even if you have bad knees.

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Taichi
  • Yoga
  • Cycling
  • Water aerobics
  • Pilates
  • Shadowboxing


Swimming is a great way to lose belly fat with bad knees. The water holds your weight, giving less impact on your knees, which is pain-free knees.

A study shows that people with osteoarthritis gained muscle, improved function, and reduced joint pain with swimming.

[source: Improved Function and Reduced Pain after Swimming and Cycling Training in Patients with Osteoarthritis.]

Fun fact: I used to swim in canals when I was a kid. Gross right? While living in a third world country, it was reasonably common to swim in canals, especially when raining. 

I developed my swimming prowess by dodging floating dog feces coming from upstream. Sadly, I didn’t make the swimming team.

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I’m a great advocate of walking to lose belly fat. It’s so easy to do, and anyone can walk. My 2-year-old daughter can walk, albeit, little steps. 

However, older adults with osteoarthritis are more than capable of walking without aggravating their bad knees.

A study found that walking greater than or equal to 6000 steps a day kept older people retain their functionality compared to people who walked less than 3000 steps a day.

[source: Daily walking and the risk of incident functional limitation in knee OA: An observational study]

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Do you see elderly Chinese men and women doing some sort of slow-mo martial arts at the park every morning? Well, they are doing a very moderate physical activity called Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art practiced for defense, health benefits, and meditation. Tai Chi is also a good exercise if you want to lose belly fat with bad knees.

A study about walking and tai chi reduced waist circumference in Hong Kong Chinese adults, but no additional change in bone density.

[source: Effects of Tai Chi and Walking Exercises on Weight Loss, Metabolic Syndrome Parameters, and Bone Mineral Density: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial]

Several studies show that tai chi is recommended for older people for its various physical and psychological benefits.

People with conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and osteoarthritis can perform tai chi without worsening their conditions.

Tai chi has shown to improve quality of life, mood, relieves stress and improves lung capacity.

[source: Tai Chi]

I don’t practice Tai Chi myself, but as you can probably imagine, the soft movements and slow speed will not put a strain on any of your joints.

Making tai chi ideal for people with bad knees to help keep active and ideally lose weight.

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A study found that 12-week yoga intervention in women has reduced belly fat, waist circumference, and stress.

The following is what was concluded in the study:

  • An intensive 12-week yoga program in women with abdominal obesity led to a significant reduction in waist circumference compared with an untreated control group.
  • Yoga reduced the waist-hip ratio, body weight, BMI, and percentage of body fat and increased the body muscle rate.
  • Furthermore, the intervention increased mental and physical quality of life and self-esteem and reduced subjective stress.
  • Both groups experienced only minor adverse events.
  • Yoga can be recommended to women to reduce abdominal obesity.

[source: Yoga in Women With Abdominal Obesity— a Randomized Controlled Trial]

I know someone who does Yoga, and she loves it. When I asked her what she loves about Yoga this is what she had to say:

“I wanted a soft exercise that can make me lose weight and improve my flexibility. But once I got into it, I now do Yoga for spirituality and to improve my mind.”

Her answer intrigued me. I replied, “WTF?” and I dug a little deeper into Yoga. There have been numerous studies about Yoga that can improve your physical fitness and lose weight.

However, as I found out, it’s not the ability to do impossible poses that melted belly fat off practitioners, it’s their mindset.

Just have a read through these quotes from Yoga practitioners:

“I wouldn’t say I was really dieting. I was just being very conscious of changing the way I related to food. And part of changing the way that I related to food involved just paying attention to what I eat and when I eat, and you know, I think I began to think of eating more as dining and less as fueling up.” (60-year-old male, overweight before Yoga)

“…You could eat a bag of potato chips and not be aware of it… People can sort of zone out and they don’t even know how much they are eating. Yoga definitely helps make you more mindful.” (44-year-old, female, overweight before Yoga)

“I don’t do drive-thru’s [sic]. I can walk through the bakery in any grocery store. I have no triggers after Yoga.” (60-year-old female, overweight before Yoga)

[source: A Different Weight Loss Experience: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Behavioral, Physical, and Psychosocial Changes Associated with Yoga That Promote Weight Loss]

There is more to Yoga than just doing headstands and twisting your body like a pretzel. Yoga provided these practitioners with a way of life. 

Yoga has a support system, focuses on healthy eating and improving the mind. This leads me to believe that Yoga is an excellent long term weight loss program for anyone, even if you have bad knees.


Cycling is another excellent activity to lose belly fat with bad knees. To be honest, I hate cycling, but it’s a great way to lose weight when you have physical limitations.

In a study of 39 elderly adults with a median age of 71 with knee arthritis improved physical activity.

The study found that cycling in high intensity was no different compared to low-intensity cycling. 

Results also suggest that cycling increases aerobic capacity and reduces pain.

[source: The effects of high-intensity and low-intensity cycle ergometry in older adults with knee osteoarthritis.]

Although there were daily reports of acute pain, there was a significant improvement in functionality and reduced stiffness.

Water aerobics

Water aerobics or water exercises are a great way to get good cardio in when you have bad knees. 

The water acts as a cushion when you are exercising in the water. It also acts like a resistance band giving you a little bit of strength training.

It’s important to note that falling incidences are common in elderly adults and likely lead to expensive hip replacements or even death. Exercising in water reduces those risks.

To prove that this is a good exercise for people with limited leg capacity. A study of 8 people living with rheumatoid arthritis increased leg strength significantly and improved aerobic performance.

[source: The effect of water exercise therapy given to patients with rheumatoid arthritis.]


What is Pilates? It sounds like someone’s name. 

If you also thought so, you are correct. Joseph Pilates invented this exercise back in 1912. He was implementing his methods on injured soldiers in the latter period of World War 1 to great success. The injured soldiers showed quicker recovery with Pilates’ treatments.

Pilates is pretty much the same as Yoga. However, Pilates focuses on core strength, while Yoga emphasizes flexibility.

There are doubts about Pilates’ methods due to limited evidence. However, current studies show Pilates is effective compared to traditional treatments.

[source: The comparison of the effectiveness of conventional therapeutic exercises and Pilates on pain and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis.]


Anyone can do shadowboxing, heck, even my 2-year-old daughter can do it. She looks like she’s dancing, though.

Having knee problems will not be a problem if you stick to these rules when you shadow box. 

It won’t be normal shadowboxing because it can take its toll on your knees, back, shoulders, and arms.

Shadowboxing involves plenty of whole-body movement. Not only does it engages your hands but also your core, back, quads, and feet—a total body workout.

As you can imagine, it’s not great for someone who has bad knees. However, if you don’t use your lower body, you can get away with faulty knees.

Your upper body will get a good workout without aggravating any knee injuries or arthritis. 

Fun fact: Do you know that tai chi is another form of shadow boxing? Why don’t you incorporate tai chi with boxing? So, you can use every part of your body but soft movements. If you go this route, I advise learning about proper punching, footwork, and defense. There are lots of resources on youtube to learn the basics of boxing. You can learn from this guy. He covers the fundamentals of punching, defense, and footwork. 

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Losing belly fat is hard. It’s even harder when you have bad knees. The only way you can lose belly fat with bad knees is to engage in less intense exercises.

And there has never been a better time for you to start. The bigger you get, losing weight becomes almost impossible with limited movement. 

Moreover, your quality of life when you are morbidly obese will be devastating. You won’t be able to walk because your deteriorating knee cannot handle the stress of your weight.

Start doing these soft exercises to prevent being a statistic:

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Taichi
  • Yoga
  • Cycling
  • Water aerobics
  • Pilates
  • Shadowboxing

It can be hard to lose weight with bad knees because movement capacity is limited. 

A surefire way to lose weight with bad knees without working out is through diet. 

Ideally, incorporating exercise and diet is the best way to lose weight. But with a bad knee, exercising is tough.

If you want to know how I lost 22 pounds in 4 months without lifting weights, no boring and tedious cardio, click here.

Or, click here to find more ways to lose belly fat.

Ladies and gents, gather round, I’ve got a tale to tell. Picture this: a body that refuses to bulk up, paired with a metabolism slower than a snail’s race to the finish line. It’s a curse, I tell ya! But fear not, my friends, for I took this challenge head-on and became a scholar in all things weight loss and nutrition. And now, I’m here to share my tales of triumph (and some struggles) with you all, so you too can finally achieve that bod of your dreams! flex (just kidding, still workin’ on it).

— Christian Tanobey

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