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The last thing you want to do when your knees hurt is jump on the treadmill for an hour-long run.

A simple step aerobics class or walking lunges can send you rummaging through your gym bag for some ibuprofen. A good workout at the gym shouldn’t end with an ice pack.

But this is a predicament for many people struggling with weight loss and knee pain. How do you lose weight without hurting your knees more?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure this out by yourself. Whether you’re working with a physical therapist or a sports medicine technician, knowledgeable health professionals can recommend an exercise routine that will help you safely burn calories.

Many people find that non-impact aerobic exercise, such as swimming and cycling, is effective for burning calories and dropping pounds – and that can significantly lessen knee pain. But ultimately, your knees – and the scale – will tell you what works best.

Alice Warchol is a freelance health writer and fitness instructor.

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