Any exercise is better than no exercise, but not all workouts are created equal. Some exercises put more strain and force on your joints than they should.
Whether you prefer the gym, home, or outside, check out these low impact workouts to keep yourself happy and healthy.
Some specialized exercise regiments tend to abuse your joints. Exercises like the P90 X and the Insanity workouts involve jumps and moves that slam your legs into the ground.
The Light Impact Training (LIT) Method will get the job done without the potential injuries. This is a specially designed home gym workout that uses a couple of bands and rollers to provide a whole body strength workout. You can also use a rowing machine if you are at the gym.
Strength training with weights at the gym will definitely get your muscles burning, but they might also leave your joints on fire. Some lifting techniques leave your joints over extended which will cause some long term harm.
Suspension training exercises, like the popular TRX routines, tend to promote a more natural style of strength exercise without the need for heavy and expensive equipment. You can use a couple of bands to work out the whole body by following a simple online or video guide. You can read my review on suspension straps here.
Most people tend to go straight to the treadmill when looking for some cardio at the gym. The treadmill might be good for walking, but it can produce the same high impact injuries that running or jogging outside can have.
The treadmill’s neighbor, the elliptical, fits right along with other low impact workouts. This will get the heart rate up while avoiding the constant impact on the lower joints.
Gravity tends to be the biggest culprit when it comes to high-impact injuries. Joints are damaged when the body suddenly feels the resistance of the ground or workout equipment.
So why not take gravity out of the equation?
Swimming is a great, natural way to exercise the entire body without much resistance. Water is more forgiving on the joints, and you can get a great cardio and strength workout at the same time.
Don’t worry if you can’t swim. Lessons are affordable, and personal flotation devices are usually available at your local pool.
You might picture mats, spandex, and deep breathing when you think of yoga. That’s all well and good, but don’t be fooled: yoga can be a great form of cardio exercise if you dial up the challenge a bit.
Power yoga is a special form of yoga that emphasizes quicker and continuous poses that can leave you breathless. Just try bending backward for several minutes while not losing your breath. Different power yoga classes vary, but they often follow a specific sequence that makes it unique from other low impact workouts. There is one program by beachbody that I would would recommend looking at called the piyo workout videos which is a great yoga dvd series to tone up and lose weight.
Martial arts come is all forms. If they involve tossing you around the room or submitting your face to high-speed punches, they don’t fit into the category of low impact workouts.
Cardio kickboxing is a great alternative to traditional forms of martial arts because it takes away the impacts your limbs typically suffer. Combining both kicks and punches set to music, cardio kickboxing emphasizes the cardio part of its name. You will work up a sweat in no time.
The best part is you can do it at the gym or at home.
Sometimes, our workout needs should be taken outside. Nothing provides a better experience than getting out on the lake. When the weather is right, you can get a calm and relaxing strength and cardio workout in a boat.
Rowing and kayaking are effective low impact workouts that leave your joints happy. The upper body exercise is great for toning the arms, back, and chest.
Best of all, you get to control the workout intensity. Go slow for a gentle experience or crank the speed up to get the heart racing.
You don’t need to focus just on the upper body while on the lake. A standup paddleboard (SUP) is perfect for staying on the lake, or even ocean, while getting the whole body involved in the cardio and strength workout.
Like other low impact workouts, paddleboarding lets you control the intensity of the exercise by changing the speed. Slow is good for a casual stroll around the lake, but increase your cadence to work up a sweat.
It’s easy to forget about the one movement we do the most: walking. A casual stroll around the block usually isn’t enough to get the blood pumping, but a good speed walk will actually burn around 300 calories an hour. Throw some distance into the mix and you’ll have a great alternative to the morning run.
Walking is great among the low impact workouts because it keeps the scenery changing around you. If you ever get bored at the gym, get outside to walk for a few miles. Change up your route to keep things fresh and to increase your chances of meeting new people.
To really escape the usual experience at the gym, you need to get some distance. Whether it’s on or off-road, biking has something to offer the other low impact workouts don’t: open freedom.
Biking several miles will work the legs and respiratory system while giving you a dynamic view. Better yet, you can find whole local communities who get out on the bike as a group. If you want some company during your workouts, biking is a perfect option.
Including Low Impact Workouts Into Your Routine
A good quality workout doesn’t need to cost you a lot of money or your healthy joints. Focus on including some low impact workouts now so you can continue to be healthy in the future.
If you want other tips and help, check out the rest of the blog.