Regular Contributor
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎05-17-2010

My sister is in her early 60's and wants to lose about 50 pounds.  She has bad knees and is afraid of aerobic activity.  She was thinking of using the treadmill or bike at the gym for cardio and taking a beginner pilates class for toning.  Is that right?  I always walk and use the cybex machines to tone.  I've never done pilates.  Any insight???




Honored Contributor
Posts: 48,560
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Your sister needs to work with a trainer during her first visits to a gym.   At her age,  she also should get an OK from her doctor.  She could seriously hurt herself trying to make her way through the maze of machines and classes alone.   While doing PT after my knee replacement,  I found the recumbent bike to be a great help,  with no strain on my bad back. 

New Mexico☀️Land Of Enchantment
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,301
Registered: ‎03-20-2010

If I were her I would  consult with an orthopedic doctor first and go to PT to get help for her knees then work with a trainer. Trying to figure it out for herself can make her knees worse and cause more problems that could make her unable to do much of a workout. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 53,160
Registered: ‎03-29-2012

I would think swimming or water aerobics would be better for her knee, if she has access to a pool.  The others are correct about checking with her doctor and a trainer before beginning something new.  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 16,780
Registered: ‎10-04-2010

Betty, does she swim?

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,227
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

First, she needs to check with her doctor to be sure she's OK for workouts. I also agree that a trainer is a good idea, not one who tries to kill you but one who understands that light and easy is the way to start. 


I've exercised all my life and my weight is normal but my knees reflect all the years of exercising. When they get really bad, I go to water aerobics. My guess is that your sister may be advised to start there. I'm not a fan of the pool or bathing suits but every other woman I met in the pool felt the same way...about being in a bathing suit. Once you're in the pool, though, the music starts playing and you start having fun. 


One final piece of advice. Exercise alone will not take weight off. It's part of a healthy lifestyle but I recently read that 80% of weight loss is diet. Exercise can certainly help with weight loss efforts but it's not sufficient. So I congratulate your sister for wanting to get healthier. You sound like a very supportive sister, and that will be helpful for your sister. Having lost 108 pounds over 30 years ago, I know how challenging maintaining that healthy lifestyle can be, but it can be done!

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,506
Registered: ‎03-15-2010

Has she seen a dietitian?? She is not going to lose wt until she starts eating better.  What's that expression,  "you can not work off a bad diet"

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,627
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Agree with others about checking with doc first and implementing a good nutrition program.


Re: exercise.  With a bad knee, a treadmill might aggravate it due to impact. There's no impact on an elliptical, so considwr that, too.  Recumbent bikes are easier on knees than upright bikes.  Water exercise is a good idea.



Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,506
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Two thoughts- rowing on a high quality rowing machine can be pretty easy on the knees, but only a physical therapist or MD Orthopedist can tell you for sure.

Point two, in my experience many highly qualified dieticians have a tendency to espouse only the eating plans and "change" strategies in which they themselves have been trained.

For SOME of us, it is necessary to research different patterns (vegetarian, low cab, hi fber, Paleo, etc, just to name a few, and MANY others) before one approach emerges that works for your individual needs.


It is part of your search to find something healthy and nutritious that WORKS FOR YOU. Be prepared to be TOTALLY HONEST (do you binge? Have food cavings?) sometimes behavior that is actually "eating disordered" contributes to long standing obesity when we're not even aware of it!

Wshing your sister LOTS of sccess!

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,856
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

There is a lot of good advice here.  Don't let your sister go overboard with the diet and exercise, like she'll lose the weight in 2 weeks.  She needs to make a plan, get professional advice, and proceed with caution.  If she loses the weight too fast, it will come right back on, and if she hurts herself physically, that will be untold steps backwards.  Good luck to her, I truly hope she is successful, and if knees can talk, they will thank her.