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I want to not only exercise my upper body, but my legs as well.

However, whenever I do squats I hear my left knee 'clicking'.

Someone posted that swimming is a good exercise, but I'm not so sure about that.

I've tried swimming before, but found running and jump-roping to be far more effective when I'm trying to lose weight.

Then again, I have a bad knee, so I can't just keep running or jumping.

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I'm going to agree with whoever suggested swimming to you in the past. The water provides resistance, and the distance provides the heartrate. In effect, it's both a strength exercise, and a cardiovascular exercise.

In the end though, fat burning is most effectively done in the kitchen, as whatever calories you burn in an hour on a treadmill, can be undone in three minutes eating the wrong food.

Learning the basics of nutrition is going to do far more for your fat percentage, than any one exercise.

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I prefer using an indoor rowing machine. Rowing machines allow for a complete body workout and are relatively low impact on the knees. You can easily set the machine to provide a low or high impact workout based on your goals. I, personally, have had knee problems in the past and have not found the rower to cause any added stress on the knees. However, before attempting to use a rower, or, any exercise equipment, you should check with your personal physician first to insure you will not exacerbate an existing condition.

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  • I may be overlooking something, but when you say rowing provides a complete body workout, I start trying to think of counter-examples. It's a knee-jerk reaction, but maybe there's something to it. How does rowing train the upper-body's push-muscles like chest, triceps, and front deltoids? – Alec Oct 29 '17 at 19:23
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    @Alec If you think in terms of the rowing movement, you'll notice that all the major body parts get some form of work. Granted it may not be enough to stimulate muscle mass, but, it's enough to tone and firm the entire body with one exercise. For example, pulling on the handle with proper form will stimulate the pectoral, triceps, and deltoid muscles. Just not enough to stimulate growth. Additionally, performing one major movement that consists of several smaller coordinated sub-movements, tends to assist in achieving a total body workout. – rrirower Oct 29 '17 at 19:34
  • Those are good points. +1. – Alec Oct 30 '17 at 8:52
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I would also be inclined to suggest biking. Livestrong goes through the calorie math when compared to running and shows that biking can burn an equivalent number of calories to running. I don't really have the prototypical running body type and most of my friends that ride also don't. (We're all a little bulky, not fat but sturdy) Biking allows me to do a lot of cardio and endurance training without starting to feel any joint pain from the impact.

I can ride my bike for two hours at a fairly high pace with the only discomfort being muscular fatigue while if I were to run at an equivalent effort level for the same amount of time I would be in a lot of joint pain that day and the next.

That being said I have a road bike that I had fitted for me. So make sure you get your bike fitted to ensure that it works for you. Biking isn't really a full body workout but it will definitely help you burn calories.

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  • +1 just for the fitting comment. For a bike not to cause knee/hip problems over time, proper fitting is crucial. And that is not just a "Stand over it. Yup, that's the right size, all right" type of fitting. – JohnP Nov 14 '17 at 17:49

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