3 Reasons Why You Might Want to Consider Low Impact Workouts
Looking to go low impact for your workouts? Here’s why you should.
1) It’s easy on the joints
Obviously, the number one reason why anyone would want to go low impact is for the sake of their joints.
Jumping and running and other high impact moves can do a number on your joints, regardless of your age.
So, whether you already suffer from mobility issues, arthritis, joint pain, or not, opting for a low impact workout will help preserve your mobility and promote pain-free living.
2) It builds strength and endurance
A low impact workout doesn’t equal an easy workout. With a low impact workout, you’re going to be doing more resistance moves, which helps you build up strength overtime.
Plus, low impact workouts generally have you working out for longer periods, allowing you to build up endurance.
This isn’t to say that low impact means low intensity.
It’s just that low impact workouts are usually able to be carried out over longer periods–like swimming and bicycling.
3) It’s easier to get started
Low impact doesn’t have to be low intensity–but it can be when you want it to be! That’s what’s so great about low impact workouts.
They are super flexible and welcoming, regardless of your current ability level.
If you are obese or haven’t worked out in a long time, you definitely need to get into a low impact routine.
Not only will it make you feel better by not stressing your joints, it will also be easier for you to get into it.
Just think: it’s easier to start a low impact activity like walking than it is to jump into a high impact activity, like running or jumping jacks.
High impact activities are always high (or, at the very least, moderate) intensity, but low impact activities can be low, moderate, or high intensity to suit your needs.
4) It’s super flexible
Low impact activities also adapt to you overtime.
For instance, you can get into cycling with a slow, flat pedal across the park and eventually add in new terrain and steeper incline to increase difficulty.
Low impact workouts are some of the most flexible and adaptable of them all.
You’re in total and complete control of how fast you go, how much effort you have to put in, and ultimately: the results you’re able to get out.
Are There Any No Impact Exercises?
You’ve heard of low impact and high impact, but is there any such thing as a no impact workout?
While low impact workouts are suitable for most everyone, people with severe injuries or those simply looking to further minimize joint stress may certainly be interested in no impact moves.
While harder to find, they certainly exist!
First, it’s important to understand the different classifications.
A high impact move, like jumping, is one that puts jarring impact on your joints.
Think about any movement that requires fast or hard stepping or pounding, such as running or even jumping jacks.
On the other hand, a low impact move is one that generally entails much softer, usually slower, stepping or movement, such as walking around or stepping into a lunge.
So, a no impact move is one that–just as you may have guessed–puts absolutely no impact on your joints at all. A good example is deep water running.
This is an activity where you are placed into a deep pool where you can’t touch the bottom.
A flotation belt is put around your waist to hold your upper half out of the water as your bottom half completes the no impact movement.
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell the difference between a low impact and no impact activity.
Basically, the difference is that a no impact activity won’t have you bearing any weight as you complete the movement.
Aquatic exercise, deepening on what you’re doing, is either low impact or no impact.
For most people, a low impact workout is plenty acceptable as it removes that stress from your joints and helps to promote mobility.
However, some people may need to opt for no impact exercises, like those undergoing extreme physical therapy.
Generally, no impact exercise is only a requirement for those in rare cases.
For instance, someone who is severely obese or extremely inactive may need to begin with a no impact exercise routine and work up to a low impact exercise routine.
It’s also beneficial for the elderly who have very weak muscles and may already have sore joints.
With all of this in mind, most people opt for low impact activities, like cycling and walking, in order to ease themselves into motion.
If you need advice on what to do, ask your doctor for their input so that you can get on the path to a healthier you.
Low Impact HIIT Workout Ideas
HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, has definitely taken off in the world of fitness.
However, just because you want your workout to be high intensity, that doesn’t mean you have to opt for high impact.
With all of the known negative effects that high impact moves can have on your body–like joint pain and increased risk of injury–it’s always a good idea to find ways to lower impact while keeping that intensity high.
In the case of HIIT routines, you’ll often find that a lot of moves are high impact because just about every high impact move is high intensity (be it burpees or jumping rope).
However, there are also plenty of low impact moves that are high intensity.
So, all you have to do is make some smart substitutions and you’ll have a modified workout that’s better for your joints while being just as effective for your fitness goals.
Anything that requires you to lift both feet off the ground is probably a no-no.
Jumping is a major culprit in HIIT routines, whether you’re ending your burpee by reaching towards the sky or doing “star jumps” to get your heart pumping fast.
Luckily, some low impact alternatives also work to get your heart racing.
Instead of jumping back into a burpee, simply step it out one foot at a time. Instead of jumping up at the end, do a lunge or a squat.
Slow Things Down
Slowing things down might make it sound like low impact equals easier, but it most certainly does not! By slowing down your movements, you gain more control over your form and end up working against your own body weight to tone your muscles and get your blood pumping.
One good example is marching.
Marching is the ideal substitution for high impact moves like butt kicks and running in place because it works similar muscles without all the pounding.
March in place with your knees going as high as you can make them at a pace you can withstand.
Opt for Body Resistance Moves
You can definitely work up a sweat by opting for body resistance moves over large, range of motion activities.
Holding a deep squat, for instance, is certainly going to get your heart pumping even if you aren’t doing a bunch of big, fast movements.
Also try planks, wall sits, and squats to get your body working against its own weight. That’s when you’ll really feel the burn.
Low Impact Modifications for Your Usual Cardio Workouts
You don’t have to ditch cardio just because you want to protect your joints.
Whether it’s arthritis, an injury, or just the desire to protect yourself from such things, choosing low impact modifications can go a long way in supporting your overall health and wellbeing for years to come.
Here’s a look at some ways you can modify your typical workout to be easier on your joints.
1) Trade jumping for stepping
Instead of jumping for a move, try stepping or lunging instead.
When done as a controlled movement, lunging is great as toning muscle and it can work up your heart rate in no time once you find your rhythm.
Since jumping is a popular high-impact move, finding ways to substitute it alone will do wonders for making your high impact routine more joint friendly.
In other words, take your movements that utilize your range of motion and try to go for a resistance move instead.
2) Try seated exercises
If you spend a lot of time up and on your feet during your workout, you can reduce the impact greatly by taking a seat.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean getting lazy. Cycling and bodyweight exercises are excellent ways to bring your high impact workout down to moderate or low impact.
You can also bring things down to the mat to further reduce the impact felt by your joints as you move about.
3) Move horizontally instead of vertically
Instead of going up and down, which puts a lot of stress on your joints, try moving side to side during workouts.
For instance, instead of doing jumping jacks, you can do side lunges or another lateral move will help you keep your heart rate up without missing a beat, and without hurting your delicate joints.
4) Take it into the water
Water automatically reduces impact because the water slows down your movements while adding resistance and acting as a cushion.
You can get a low impact workout that definitely works up your heart rate!
Try a water aerobics routine for yourself and you’ll see just how easy it is to break a sweat.
You can also try swapping your morning run for a swim.