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The Best Exercises for Fitness After Knee Replacement

By Luanne Kelchner

After a knee replacement surgery, exercise and physical therapy are the most important aspects of your recovery. The exercises will start with simple steps to increase the mobility in your knee. These exercises may be difficult at first, but they should be started as soon as possible. Some patients begin physical therapy in the recovery room immediately after the surgery.

Increasing Mobility

The exercises that you will do immediately after your knee-replacement surgery increase your mobility and range of motion. This important phase of your recovery will affect your ability to exercise for fitness in later stages. Until you have recovered from your knee surgery, you can walk to keep your body physically fit. In the early days after your knee replacement, make sure that your steps are even and your gait is smooth. Eventually, you will be able to walk without a cane or crutches as your endurance and muscles build. Walking is one of the best ways to help your knee recover and to keep fit after the surgery.

Using Exercise Equipment

Use an exercise bicycle to improve the condition of your leg muscles and to get in some aerobic activity. You can increase the tension on the bike at about four to six weeks after the surgery. Exercise on a stationary bicycle does not put a great amount of weight on your knee, but it will increase your strength. Split your workout into two sets of 15 minutes each on the bike before building up to a 30 minute workout. A treadmill is another way to stay fit without hurting your knee. Use the safety rails on the treadmill to help support your weight while you are recovering from the surgery. Make sure that you don't lean away from the affected knee, and keep your steps even and consistent. As you increase your strength, you will be able to spend more time on the treadmill to keep your body in shape.

Weight Training

Add weight to your ankles to increase resistance and build strength in your leg muscles. Wait about four to six weeks after the knee replacement surgery before you add ankle weights to your exercise routine. Add weight to floor exercises such as leg raises and knee bends that you do lying down. The extra weight increases the strength of the muscles in your leg that support your knee. Discuss your progress with your physical therapist and doctor before adding additional exercises to your routine. Exercise benefits your recovery and keeps the rest of your body fit while recovering from knee-replacement surgery.

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