A physical therapist holds the knee of a patient experiencing joint pain. The bones and joints are shown over the skin.

In the United States alone, more than 90 million adults live with some level of joint pain. Whether in your back, knees, or elsewhere, joint pain seriously impacts your health and quality of life. Fortunately, there's a solution that addresses the discomfort and promotes overall well-being: low-impact exercise.

Let’s dive into the world of low-impact exercises, exploring what they are and how they can be a game-changer for those struggling with joint pain. Join us on a journey toward relief and improved mobility, with a special focus on the expertise offered by the orthopedics center at UAB Medical West in Birmingham, AL.

What is Low-Impact Exercise?

Low-impact exercises are activities that minimize stress on the joints while still providing a cardiovascular workout. Unlike high-impact exercises involving forceful movements and pounding on the joints, low-impact exercises are gentle on the body while offering similar benefits.

The Vicious Cycle of Inactivity and Inflammation

When joint pain strikes, our first instinct is to avoid excessive movement and exercise. But the consequences of inactivity make the problem worse. In the case of inflammation and arthritis, abstaining from physical activity can contribute to a vicious cycle.

Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress on the joints, and playing a pivotal role in mitigating inflammation. Physical activity triggers the release of anti-inflammatory proteins in the body, helping to counteract the chronic inflammation associated with joint pain.

By succumbing to the sedentary lifestyle that often accompanies pain, individuals may unwittingly contribute to an environment that fosters increased inflammation, perpetuating the cycle of discomfort. Thankfully, low-impact exercises can be the perfect remedy for many people experiencing joint pain. Let’s take a look at two of the most common problems.

Low-Impact Exercises for Back Pain

Back pain is a common issue affecting hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. The discomfort keeps many from exercising, but this makes the problem worse. Low-impact exercises offer a way to improve mobility and increase blood flow to the muscles and joints of the back without causing pain. Here are some low-impact exercises tailored explicitly for addressing back pain:


Dive into a pool and experience the buoyancy that reduces the impact on your spine.
Water aerobics and swimming laps are excellent options to strengthen your back muscles without causing additional stress.


Hop on a stationary bike or take a leisurely ride outdoors. Cycling engages the muscles without subjecting the spine to excessive strain.

Elliptical Training

Utilize an elliptical machine for a low-impact, full-body workout. This equipment mimics the motion of running without the jarring impact on your spine.

Low-Impact Exercises for Knee Pain

Knee pain is another prevalent issue, often requiring specialized attention. Incorporating low-impact exercises into your routine can contribute significantly to managing knee pain. Consider the following activities:


A simple yet effective exercise that enhances joint flexibility and strengthens the surrounding muscles. Be sure to invest in supportive footwear to minimize stress on the knees during walks.

Stationary Lunges

Perform lunges without stepping forward, reducing the impact on your knees. This exercise targets the quadriceps and hamstrings without aggravating knee pain.

Seated Leg Press

Use a leg press machine, adjusting the resistance to your comfort level. This seated exercise targets the lower body while providing support for the knees.

Supplementing Your Journey: Nutrition and Consultation

While low-impact exercises play a pivotal role in managing joint pain, it's essential to complement your physical activity with a well-rounded approach. Nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting joint health. Consider incorporating anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish, leafy greens, and nuts into your diet. These choices can help reduce inflammation and promote joint function.

Consultation with healthcare professionals, especially those specializing in orthopedics, is also key to a holistic approach. At UAB Medical West's Orthopedics Center, patients can access experienced specialists who can provide individualized advice on exercise routines, dietary considerations, and additional treatments. Call us at (205) 481-8570 to schedule an appointment today.

Connecting Through Community Support

Embarking on a journey to alleviate joint pain is often more effective with a supportive community. UAB Medical West's Orthopedics Center facilitates this by fostering a sense of community among patients. Support groups, educational seminars, and networking opportunities create an environment where individuals can share experiences and motivate each other on their path to joint health.

Embracing a Pain-Free Future with UAB Medical West

Understanding and embracing low-impact exercise as a solution for back and knee pain is a transformative step towards a pain-free future. You can regain control over your joint health by combining these exercises with proper nutrition, expert consultation, and specialized programs.

UAB Medical West's Orthopedics Center in Birmingham, AL, not only serves as a beacon of expertise but also as a partner in your journey to optimal joint health. Take charge of your well-being, explore the benefits of low-impact exercise, and trust in the comprehensive care provided by UAB Medical West for a future free from joint pain. Find a doctor near you to get started today!

Alleviate Joint Pain at UAB Medical West’s Orthopedic Center

Proudly serving the Birmingham community for over 50 years. UAB Medical West’s Orthopedic Center uses state-of-the-art technology and modern techniques to promote bone and joint health. Call us today at (205) 481-7000 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.