Everyone has to start somewhere on their fitness journey and with the New Year here, many are taking their first steps toward better health. It is important to remember to that you have to learn how to walk before you run, which is a great metaphor here because that is literally what you should do. Beginners to working out should definitely begin with low-impact exercises and work up to high-impact ones. We’ll define what low impact exercises are and give you suggestions on some great ones to get you started.
What is a low impact exercise?
Most fitness experts define a low impact exercise as an exercise where one foot is always on the ground. Low impact exercises are great for lowering impact and damage to your joints. These exercises are designed to help you avoid highly impactful actions such as jumping and running. If you are just beginning to work out or are rehabbing from an injury, a low impact workout is highly recommended. The downside is that in general, low impact exercises are less intense and burn less calories than their high impact counterparts. We have listed some of our favorite low impact exercises.
- Treadmill walking
The treadmill is no longer just for running. Walking is a great way to get some cardio without putting too much stress on your body. For a little more advanced workout, if your treadmill has an incline setting you can try uphill walking to burn more calories and gradually build more endurance and strength.
- Using a stepmill or stepper
We’ve previously discussed the merit of using of a stepper or stepmill and one of them was that it is low impact. If your treadmill does not have an incline function, a stepmill or stepper will serve the same function. One foot is always on the step so there is no strain on your knees. It is also a great calorie burner because each step is at an incline.
Rowing machines are sort of a mix between a cardio and a strength machine but it is also low impact so your joints are safe. The rowing machine simulates the act of rowing a boat so it’s also great if you don’t have a rowboat and a lake nearby. Rowing is not only a workout for your arms, but also for your core and legs. It is a great low impact calorie burning activity.
- Using an elliptical machine
Elliptical crosstrainers are the other extremely popular cardio machines and for good reason. Your body weight is supported by the machine instead of your joints so there is much less strain on them. If you use an elliptical with movable arms, you can get a total body workout and burn more calories with low impact.
Both outdoor and indoor cycling are wonderful low impact ways to get into shape or stay in shape. Since both of your feet away always on the pedal (hopefully) there’s very minimal impact on your joints, hence why many recovering athletes utilize exercise bikes before they return to the treadmill.
It’s tempting to you hit the floor running when you’re trying to get in shape, but remember that you should slowly work up to higher intensity and impactful exercises. Even when you’re at that level, it is wise to mix it up occasionally and add in both low impact and high impact exercises to your workout routine. Once you’re ready to start your fitness journey, check out some of the low impact gym equipment you’ve read about on our website!