Low Impact Exercises

Low Impact Exercises

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Lose weight. Excess pounds are another thing that stresses your bones. Rely on low-impact workouts to burn calories while you slim down.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Dawn Hurlebaus