4 Effective Ways To Do Cardio While Being Hurt

Who in their right mind plans on getting hurt? Injuries suck, but it’s a natural occurrence when it comes to sports, exercise, and other daily activities. Throughout my years as an athlete and trainer I’ve witnessed numerous situations where people get hurt and declare themselves completely out of commission. That’s one of the worst things you can do. There are 4 effective ways to do cardio while being hurt.

1 – Water Exercise

Water keeps you buoyant which completely reduces your bodyweight, but the water also offers fluid resistance.

Swimming laps or running in the water can strengthen the the entire body without doing anymore damage. It’s one of the most intense cardio exercises that you can do and it has the least amount of negative impact on joints.

You can alter your movements according to the injury that you’re dealing with. Let’s say you have an issue with your arm. Just grab a kick-board and swim laps with your legs doing all the work.

If you have ankle issues you might not want to kick as much. So just concentrate on more upper body motion.

Even the temperature of water can help injuries recover by reducing inflammation. Try alternating between a hot tub and a cold pool. You’ll experience some major pain relief.


2 – Cycling

The great thing about bike riding is that there’s virtually no pounding on your knees and ankles, like you would find in running.

If you have an upper body injury this is an obvious choice because you’r arms aren’t really responsible for much on the bike.

If you can’t grip handle bars what-so-ever I would recommend using a stationary bike and just letting your arms hang by your side.


3 – Upper Body Ergometer

You’ll find the ergometer in physical therapy clinics more than any other setting. It’s basically a bicycle, except for your arms.

This should probably be one of your last options, but if you are really having trouble using your legs, this will still get your heart going.

Studies have shown that this tool can’t get you in to cardiovascular shape as well as other means…..but it’s far better than doing nothing.

Upper Body Ergometer

Unilateral Resistance Circuits

Doing “unilateral” movements simply means that you’re working one side of the body. If you have a knee injury, you can still do single leg squats with your healthy leg so why not do it?

Studies have shown that when you train a healthy limb it helps the injured limb gain its strength back faster after the recovery process.

If you have an upper body injury you can do dumbbell exercises with your healthy arm, or use any resistance machine that doesn’t require bilateral movement (working both sides of the body).

To get more cardio out of your resistance workout, just ramp up the rep count and put your exercises into a circuit with limited rest in between.


The first step to staying in shape when you get hurt is to realize that it’s a part of life. It happens to the best of us, and the sooner you can mentally get over it, the better. The next step is to literally do whatever you’re body can physically do without causing any further damage.

If you liked these 4 effective ways to do cardio while being hurt, please share it on facebook. I bet you’ll also like to find out how to keep from getting injured in the first place!

Adam Pegg About Adam Pegg

Adam is an athlete with a serious passion for fitness and health. He played basketball at University of Delaware and Stetson. His degree is in health science and he's a certified personal trainer who loves helping people reach their goals.