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Dino Nowak
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Dino Answers Your Health Questions: Joint Problems

By Dino Nowak
Certified Fitness Trainer

Question from a Reader:

I really want to get started getting fit, but I am 60 pounds overweight and I have a lot of joint problems. I have tried to use the treadmill, but my feet hurt desperately after using it for several days. I've tried the elliptical, but it hurts my knees so badly I can't stand 10 minutes on it. I've tried the bicycle, and the same problem with my knees. Help! What can I do?

Lilburn, Ga.


Dino Answers:

Dear Laura,

OK, here we go. I first of all applaud your effort. You’re probably just taking on too much at first. Be gentle on your body and give it some time to get stronger. If your feet are getting sore after using the treadmill after several days of use, then first check your shoes and go invest in a good pair of walking shoes. But don’t do the treadmill every day - your body becomes susceptible to overuse injuries. So do the treadmill for a few minutes one day, and then take a day off. The next day ride the bike, and so on. Cross train by introducing different activities.

If your knees hurt at 10 minutes, then get off at eight while they still feel OK, and gradually increase the time over a few weeks so they don’t hurt. And on the bike check your seat setting. If you’re too close, you’ll “jam” your knees as they cannot fully straighten out, but if you’re too far away, you’ll have to reach and end up hyper extending your knee. A proper setting should have you almost fully extending your leg at the end of your pedal stroke but still have some bend in the knee.

A good idea would be to introduce some resistance training in your program. As we get older, we lose muscle tissue - especially if we aren’t exercising. With the loss of that supportive tissue, the joints bear more of the stress. That could also be another reason why you’re feeling pain in your knees during activity.


Dino Nowak holds some of the highest levels of certifications with the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, and the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research. He has advised and trained celebrities in the television, film, and music industries, in addition to those of all ages who have struggled with health and fitness challenges. He is the former general manager of Equinox Fitness in Los Angeles and the author of The Final Makeover: Your 40 Day Guide to Personal Fitness. He has been interviewed by major media outlets. His official Web site is

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