You know that exercise can make you healthier. However, you may have issues that rule out running or playing basketball. Low-impact movements are one way to protect your body while you work out.
Activities like walking can help you enjoy a higher quality of life if you’re living with chronic medical conditions. They also can give you options when you want a gentler workout from time to time. Learn more with this introduction to low-impact exercise.
Benefits of Low-Impact Exercise
High-intensity workouts receive a lot of attention, but you can enjoy the advantages of being active without sprinting or jumping rope. Remember that low-impact workouts can be highly effective.
- Protect your joints. One of the most common reasons for choosing low-impact exercise is to prevent damage to joints, bones, and connective tissue. Even if your knees are healthy, they might like a break from running on sidewalks.
- Lose weight. Excess pounds are another thing that stresses your bones. Rely on low-impact workouts to burn calories while you slim down.
- Condition your heart. Multiple studies confirm that low-impact exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease. Depending on your fitness level, you can take it easy, or work at elevating your heart rate.
- Speed up recovery. Prevent overtraining and injuries by taking days off to rest. You might do CrossFit four times a week, and walk or take Zumba classes in between.
- Sleep better. Studies have shown that being active leads to a better night’s rest and rest gives us more energy.
Ideas for Low-Impact Exercise
Any activity that allows you to keep one foot on the ground qualifies as low impact. While that often means gentler workouts, you have a wide range of options and strategies for increasing the intensity.
- Walk more. It’s convenient, simple, and free. Walking is also a great way to start moving if you’ve been sedentary for a while. Walk to the mailbox. Elect not to get an electric wheelchair in the store when shopping.
- Ride your bike. Cycle on a machine or outdoors. If that’s too much, buy a bike pedal for under your desk.
- Paddle a canoe. Grab a broom and pretend you are paddling a canoe. Moderate paddling burns about 400 calories while you’re sitting down. It tones your whole body too.
- Do chair yoga. Enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of practices that connect your body and mind to enhance your balance and increase strength and flexibility.
- Lift weights. Resistance training builds muscle and helps you burn more calories even when you’re at rest.
- Swim laps. Exercising in water is low impact even when both feet leave the ground. That’s because the water supports your weight. For variety, try aqua aerobics.
- Climb stairs. Real steps or machines are another way to challenge your lower body. For beginners, buy step platforms that you can adjust, and use for a variety of exercises.
- Seated Workouts
After my stroke, I was told I needed to build back up my muscle mass. Anyone can do this sitting in a chair. Dedicate 20 minutes a day for the next 30 days. Here is a great video to help.
Most adults can enjoy a variety of safe exercises that will accommodate aging and other physical limitations. Talk with your doctor about your individual needs, and how low-impact workouts may help.