If you have just started working out or are dealing with some injuries, low-impact cardio is the best and safest option. Before we dive into the best low-impact workouts, let’s see what a low-impact workout means.
In general, low-impact workouts are generally less challenging for the body, especially on joints, and can be an excellent way to reduce the risk of injury and still get in a heart-pumping workout. Although it’s not the same always, most fitness experts and trainers define low-impact exercises as motions or workouts where you keep one foot on the ground at all times. For instance, if you run, walking would be the low-impact version of running. Similarly, regular squats are low-impact alternatives for high jump squats and so on. You can get benefits from a low-impact workout schedule if you’re recovering from an injury, suffering from joint pain, or want to take a break from your high-intensity training. However, low impact doesn’t mean low intensity.
Before we head to the workout options, let’s see why low-impact cardio activities are good for your health.
Why Low Impact Cardio Is Good For Your Health
- Less stress on the joints
Low impact activities are more gentle on your joints than high-impact exercises. That’s why these are ideal for those dealing with joint pain, injuries, or someone who just wants a break from high-intensity training.
- It keeps you active on a resting day.
While you’re giving your muscles a chance to recover on resting days, these low-impact activities will keep you active without causing much stress.
- It helps to build strength.
Low-impact cardio activities like rowing are a great way to build strength without putting much pressure on your joints.
Say Yes to Swimming
It is probably called the king of the low-impact workout. Swimming is a great option that will still shed your calories. The stress on your body reduces due to the buoyancy factor, but it doesn’t mean you aren’t getting any benefits. Swimming incorporates strength, cardio, and flexibility in one workout.
Even if you do basic freestyle stroke, it will engage muscles in your upper and lower body like triceps, shoulders, pecs, quads, and of course, your core.
If you’re dealing with bad joints, you should focus on backstroke and front crawl instead of breaststroke, as the kick can place some stress on the outside of the knees.
Get Moving with a Low-impact Jumping Jack
A low-impact jumping jack is like a warm-up exercise that will prevent stress on your joints while still targeting your muscles. You can modify the arm movements to burn maximum calories.
Start with standing and placing your arms at your sides. Place your right foot out, and while doing this, bring your arms above your head. Keep your weight on your right foot during the movement. Return to the starting position. Now step out your left foot and shift your weight on the left foot. Bring your arms above your head and repeat the movement. These movements complete one rep.
Try Rowing at the Gym
Another low-impact workout that works your muscles is rowing. If you have joint concerns, this workout is perfect for you. As you’ll need a rowing machine to perform this workout, this is a gym-based activity.
How to do rowing
- Catch – This is the first step. Sit on the rowing machine with your back straight, arms straight, and ankles and knees flexed. In this position, pull down your shoulders using your lats and brace your core. Now lean forward slightly, keeping your back straight.
- Drive – Now, begin with pushing your legs while contracting your core. Lean back to 45 degrees when you straighten out your legs. Now pull the handle towards your torso just above your belly button.
- Finish – This is the resting position. However, you’ll not rest here for long. Now your legs must be long, hands along with the handle towards the body, and elbow towards the torso.
- Recover – For the last step, do the drive movements in reverse to go back in the Catch position.
Rowing is probably the best low-impact alternative to get your heart pumping. It works your arms, core, back, and legs without even having to stand up.
Squat to Jab
A squat combined with boxing will get you moving while preventing stress on your joints. To start, stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms down at the sides. Perform a regular squat with your chest up and knees out. Now stand up and when your legs are completely tall, throw a cross-body punch with each arm. Squat again, stand up, and punch again.
If you want to ensure you’re working both the legs equally, try lateral shuffle. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hips and knees slightly bent. Make sure you’re maintaining a forward posture and let your arms rest in front of you. Shift your foot to the right and pick up your right foot. Now push your left foot to move your body towards the right. Maintain your form and go very quickly during the movement. Now bring your feet together and continue to shuffle.
The Bottom Line
A low-impact workout works by keeping one foot on the ground and preventing stress on your joints. But low-impact activities aren’t low-intensity, and you’ll sweat with all the mentioned cardio activities. If you’re restricted for high-impact workouts, make sure you’re completely stable and strong even before doing these low-impact activities.
Once you feel strong and you’ve built strength, then only move to other high-intensity training. Adjust the workout routine according to your fitness level, and always listen to your body. If you feel you’re having trouble while doing any of the activities, stop immediately.