Whether you’re dealing with a lingering injury or your knees just feel extra crunchy, it can be tough to find a fitness solution that goes a little bit easier on your body. Working out can be a lot for your body, and maybe weightlifting doesn’t feel as smooth as it used to.
You shouldn’t have to compromise your commitment to fitness just because you need a routine that’s tailored to your needs. Well, search no longer, friend. We’ve gathered ten of the best low-impact workout moves to get your blood pumpin’ and the sweat flowing.
What Is a Low-Impact Workout?
A low-impact workout isn’t that much different than your usual workout. You’ll still work up a sweat and get your blood pumping – except without all the stress and strain on your joints. Your average cardio workout is usually designed with jumping and other impact-inducing moves.
For many people, these high-impact moves can be a deal-breaker. But here’s the good news: the wonderful thing about fitness is that you can tailor a solution that fits your needs. If jump squats kill your knees, swap them out for a low-impact alternative.
Don’t let all this fool you into thinking that low impact = minimal effort. Even when the moves have been modified to reduce impact, it’ll still give you a heck of a workout.
Benefits of a Low-Impact Workout
Believe it or not, low-impact workouts have many of the same benefits as their high-impact alternatives. You’ll get all those feel-good endorphins while you sweat your way to a better day. Plus, it offers the perfect solution to stay active on a rest day.
But that’s not all. Unlike other types of workouts, a low-impact workout can help make a sustainable fitness routine. Injuries and musculoskeletal problems shouldn’t hold you back from pursuing your fitness goals. However, when you struggle to find a workout that works for your body, you’ll be less likely to stick to it. Low-impact workout alternatives can help keep you motivated.
10 Best Low-Impact Workouts
Ready to get started? Here are ten of our favorite low-impact workouts. Some require equipment and others you can do at home, so you’re sure to find a match that fits your needs.
TRX is relatively new to the fitness scene, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. Also known as total body resistance exercise, this workout relies on your body weight and gravity to get your blood flowing. Of course, you’ll need the trademarked TRX suspension trainer to get the job done, but you can easily install it in your own home. More of the social butterfly workout personality? Some gyms even offer group classes.
Swimming is one of the most low-impact exercises that you can do. That’s because of the buoyant force of the water that helps to virtually eliminate impact. If swimming isn’t your jam, you can also go for a water aerobics class. Sure, it might sound old-fashioned, but give it a chance, and it might surprise you.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good, ol’ fashioned pilates sweat sesh. While it might not have the crazy upbeat tempo of a HIIT workout, it’ll still do the trick. One of the best things about Pilates is that you can customize the flow according to your needs. This low-impact workout can be done while you’re working from home or in a group class setting.
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, when it comes to low-impact cardio, cycling reigns supreme. It’s one of the easiest ways to get your heart rate up with virtually no impact on your joints. Don’t be fooled, though. You can work your upper and lower body with a good spin class. Plus, most routines can be tailored to your experience level and accommodate any injuries or physical restrictions.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again; yoga is for everyone. Don’t dismiss the power of yoga as a workout. It’s all about picking the right flow. While some are more low-key, others will have you sweating it out in no time. Looking for more of a challenge? Give aerial yoga a try to see how this modern form of yoga can be the low-impact workout solution you’ve been looking for.
Not all HIIT has to be high-impact HIIT. It’s all about modifying the moves and routines to accommodate your physical needs. Try swapping moves with running and jumping for moves with pulsing or slow, resistance supported movements. For example, exchange the infamous burpee for a plank with a push-up. Alternatively, you can increase your reps and add weights (like dumbbells) to get more out of your moves.
Barre is a whole ‘nother ball game. This low-impact workout focuses on small, pulsing movements that’ll leave a lingering burning in your muscles in all the right ways. Barre’s got some serious long-term benefits, like mobility, flexibility, and even muscle endurance. Oh, and literally so low-impact that it’ll have you questioning why you haven’t tried it sooner.
Sure, you could go for your typical rowing machine – or you could upgrade to the SkiErg machine. Many gyms include this contraption that’s designed like a rowing machine for your upper body. Instead of sitting, you’ll stand and use the cables for all of your workout. But it’ll still work your glutes, hammies, and core – just without all that impact. So the SkiErg can be the perfect option if you’re dealing with lower body restrictions.
There’s no rest for the committed with circuit training – which involves quick sets of varying moderately intense exercises with no break in between. The beauty of circuit training lies in the timing. Unlike HIIT, you won’t be pausing between exercises. Which means it won’t take long to get your heart rate pumping. Try mixing in 10 – 20 reps of moves like push-ups, windmills, and v-sits for an effective low-impact workout option.
You should never underestimate the power of getting your steps in each day. It’s considered essential for helping manage heart disease, high blood pressure, and even type 2 diabetes. Kick it up a notch by increasing your speed slightly. But remember: there’s no need to introduce high-impact running. A brisk walking pace for 10,000 steps each day can be enough to help keep you in shape with a much-needed cardio workout.
Conclusion: Find a Fitness Routine That Works for You
Fitness isn’t one size fits all. And if high-impact routines aren’t your jam, that’s no big deal. There are plenty of low-impact workout routines that you can choose from. Oh, and get the same results as you would from a high-impact Zumba routine. From TRX to barre, you’re sure to find a low-impact workout that’s your perfect match.
Now all that’s left to do is grab your high-quality activewear and get to sweating it out!