Working out is a must for maintaining a healthy and fit body. However, if you are new to the fitness world or have injuries or other health conditions, you might find it challenging to do high-impact workouts. In these cases, doing a low impact workout has to be your only option. In this article, I will teach everything there is to know about low impact workout.
Low impact workout is a type of exercise that is gentler on your body and puts minimal pressure on your joints. It is a great starting point for beginners as it is suitable for people of all ages and sizes. Some forms of low-impact exercises include walking, swimming, step-ups, knee smashes, elliptical, exercise bikes, etc.
Even if you are used to doing high-impact workouts, it is necessary to give your body a break while still working out. For doing so, there is no better option than low-impact workouts. As a beginner, you might want to learn more about low-impact exercises. Thus, this article will serve as a complete guide for you and help you understand everything about low-impact workouts.
What is Low Impact Workout?
Any type of cardio exercise in which at least one foot remains in contact with the ground or equipment at all times is referred to as a low-impact workout. This is a form of exercise that has a low impact on your joints.
Low-impact workouts are suitable for all fitness levels. This type of exercise is safe and gentle on the joints and smooth in motion. There are various types of low-impact exercises. You can try some of them at home, some on the outdoors, and some at the Gym.
Apart from the beginners, athletes and professionals also do low-impact workouts while recovering from an injury. These workouts can also be done to aid in the performance of high-impact exercises.
What Are the Benefits of Low Impact Workout?
Low-impact workouts are highly beneficial for people with lower back problems and joint issues. This workout is excellent for burning calories, building strength and endurance, improving stability and balance, and increasing range of motion.
The following are some of the benefits of low impact workout-
- Lower risk of injury.
- Improves your cardiovascular health.
- Strengthen your muscles and burn calories.
- It improves balance and flexibility.
- It also increases your energy and body strength.
- It doesn’t put strains on your joints.
- Excellent for stress relief and increases feelings of relaxation and happiness.
- It also helps in pain management.
- Easy to adapt. Thus, great for beginners.
Low-impact exercises help to give you an overall health benefit, including your physical and mental health. It prepares you for jumping into high-impact workouts. Even the people who are used to high-impact activities must include low-impact exercises in their routine for giving their joints a break.
How to Prepare Yourself for Low Impact Workout?
Before starting low-impact workouts, you have to set your goals. Warm-up before your workout session, and consider talking to a health professional before adding any exercise to your fitness routine.
Even though low-impact workouts have a lower impact on your joints and a lower risk of injury, it is still necessary to prepare yourself before beginning the exercises. Let’s discuss a few things that will help you get ready for low-impact workouts-
Warming up is necessary for every type of workout- high-impact or low-impact. It would be best if you warmed up before starting any exercise session. It helps your body prepare for the exercise and thus, prevent injuries and improve your performance.
A healthy warm-up dilates your blood vessels before a workout, ensuring that your muscles get plenty of oxygen. You can do your warm-up with some simple aerobic movements such as arm swing or leg kicks. Be sure to warm up for at least 5 minutes before you start your workout routine.
- Eating healthy diet
A well-balanced diet will help you get the nutrients you need for doing exercise regularly. Food is the primary source that gives you work out strength. To maintain good energy levels and get the most out of your workout, you’ll need to eat from all food classes.
Carbohydrates help to power your muscles, protein aids in muscle recovery and repair tissue damages, whereas fats help to burn body fats and give you more energy to work out. So, you must ensure eating nutritious foods if you want to work out daily.
- Drink more water
I don’t have to mention the tons of benefits of drinking water. You already know that. You have to drink more and more water to keep yourself hydrated while working out. Especially if you exercise in hot weather, you have to increase the amount of water you drink.
Sweating causes the body to lose water. So, you have to fulfill the place by drinking extra water. Otherwise, you might have to face the severe consequences of dehydration.
- Know your limits
The common mistake beginners make pushing themselves too hard. You have to understand that your body is not used to exercise, so putting too much pressure on your body will negatively affect you.
Also, never ignore your pain while working out. You might have to face serious health problems if you continue to pressurize your body parts that are getting strained. If you feel pain or discomfort in any muscles when exercising, take a break and relax. Trust me; it’s for the better.
- Consult with a doctor
Consider consulting with a doctor or health professional before starting any form of workouts. Your doctor knows best what exercises can cause you health problems and what exercise will benefit your health.
Although it is low-impact, it might not be suitable for you. So, don’t take any risk with your body. Talk to a doctor first and continue if your doctor approves the workout.
9 Home Low Impact Exercises for Beginners
A low-impact workout at home is the perfect option to start for new exercisers. There are tons of low-impact activities you can try at your home. As a beginner, you have to start by exercising in your home. The good news is you won’t necessarily need any home gym or workout machines for doing low-impact workouts.
Now, I will share my favorite low-impact workout moves with you that are simple and easy to understand. Also, you won’t need much equipment for doing these workouts.
1. Butterfly Squats
Butterfly squats is a perfect workout for all levels, including beginners. Besides, this exercise strengthens your back muscles and improves your posture. The primary target muscle group in butterfly squat is the gluteus.
Step 1: Lower into a squat position with arms extended in front of the chest, with feet slightly wider than hip-width.
Step 2: Place your left hand on top of your right.
Step 3: Lower your arms to your hips in preparation for a short stand-up.
Step 4: Stretch your arms overhead and raise your feet off the ground.
Step 5: Then return to the starting position. Repeat the process for 1 minute.
If you find it hard to maintain the distance of your legs, you can use a resistance band. It will help you to complete your butterfly squats correctly.
2. Knee smashes
This exercise targets mainly hip flexors and abdominal muscles. It will give you a full-body workout if you do it right. Knee smash is one of the most effective abs exercises.
Step 1: Extend the arms and push the left knee up and over the neck.
Step 2: Bring the arms down and return to start and repeat.
Step 3: Go as fast as possible, and then do the process with your right knee.
Step 4: Continue the process for 1 minute on each side.
3. Squat kicks
Squat kick is low impact exercise that mainly works on the gluteus. However, it also targets the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, outer thighs, and quads to a lesser extent. The exercise is quite simple. Thus, it is an excellent workout for starters.
Step 1: Squat as low as you can.
Step 2: Keep your arms up and your hips back.
Step 3: Stand up and kick with your right leg.
Step 4: Repeat the step kicking with the left leg.
Step 5: Continue the process with alternative legs for 1 minute.
4. Side lunges
Side lunge will help you strengthen your balance as well as develop strength and flexibility in each leg. This workout mainly targets your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles.
Step 1: Stand in a broad stance with arms straight out.
Step 2: Take your left arm towards the right foot while bending at the waist, keeping the abs in.
Step 3: Stand up and repeat the move on the other side.
Step 4: Continue doing it going as fast as possible for 1 minute.
Make sure you are maintaining the correct posture and breathing pattern while doing the exercise to make the most of it. You can also try the forward or backward lunges if you like.
5. Bear Crawl Push-ups
Bear crawls are a perfect all-in-one workout that targets all of your main muscle groups at once. It is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that increases your power and strength as well as metabolism. This exercise also helps to develop your mobility and coordination.
Step 1: Squat down and extend your arms to form a plank position.
Step 2: Do a pushup on your toes or knees.
Step 3: Stand up and return to the position of the squat.
Step 4: To add more intensity, finish with a jump.
Step 5: Continue the process for 1 minute.
6. Russian twist
The Russian twist strengthens core muscles and prepares you for all sports. It also makes your obliques and spine strong. Doing it at a high intensity helps to increase heart rate and burn calories.
Step 1: Sit on the ground and bend your knees.
Step 2: Keep your legs in the air and torso leaned back. Make a V shape with your body.
Step 3: Twist your body to one side, taking both hands with you.
Step 4: Keeping your body in the same position, twist to the other side.
Step 5: Repeat the steps and continue to do the exercise for 1 minute.
You can keep weight in your hands, such as a dumbbell, medicine ball, or weight plate, to make this exercise even more challenging. But, be sure not to strain your muscles by taking too much weight that you are not used to.
The step-up exercise has several health advantages. It will help you gain muscle mass and lose body fat. Moreover, step-ups improve your balance and increase squat and deadlift strength. It is great for your lower back and helps to develop your leg power.
Step 1: Choose a chair that you can comfortably step up into. You can also use a table or stairs.
Step 2: Face the chair as you stand on the ground. With your left foot, step up on the chair.
Step 3: Meet your right foot with the left.
Step 4: To emphasize the glutes, lean the torso forward slightly.
Step 5: Gently lower your right leg to the ground before lowering your left.
Step 6: Repeat the process on the other side. Continue the exercise alternating legs 15 steps on each side.
8. Overhead tricep extension
The exercise of overhead tricep extension will help you strengthen your arms and triceps. It aids in the stabilization of joints and the expansion of triceps flexibility. The overhead triceps extension is best if you have wrist pain or discomfort. Your wrists hold the same angle during this exercise motion, putting very little pressure on them.
Step 1: Stand shoulder-width apart with the feet.
Step 2: Hold a dumbbell in each hand behind your shoulders.
Step 3: Bend your elbows pointing skyward and keep your upper arms by your ears.
Step 4: Extend your forearms above your head without moving your upper arms and maintainatight core, keeping shoulders down.
Step 5: Lower your forearms and return to the starting position. Continue repeating the steps.
Start with selecting a lightweight for this exercise. It is better to focus on maximizing working out time rather than trying to lift heavyweights.
9. Pilates curl
Pilate curl helps strengthen your core and improves your stability, flexibility, and range of motion. It increases your lung capacity and contributes to improving your mood. So, no doubt, it is a fantastic choice for an at-home low-impact workout.
Step 1: Lie down on your back, knees bent.
Step 2: Keep your arms by your side and feet flat on the ground.
Step 3: Exhale and raise your shoulders, curling your chin to your chest.
Step 4: Keep this position for one breath by engaging your abs while lifting your chest.
Step 5: Slowly lower yourself to the ground and repeat the process 6-8 times.
Try to keep these exercises in your regular workout routine. Your body will thank you if you do these exercises regularly, maintaining proper methods. As you get used to the moves, consider increasing the timing of each workout, and you can also try the variations of these exercises if you get bored with the same movements every day.
5 Beginner-friendly Outdoor Low Impact Workouts
Are you getting bored of working out at home all the time? Want to go out for exercise while enjoying the fresh air? No worries. You have lots of options for that too. There are many low-impact workouts that you can do outdoors.
Let’s discuss a few beginner-friendly low impact workouts that you can try outdoor-
One of the most popular low-impact workouts is walking. Some people go for a walk just because they love it. They don’t even know that they are doing a great help to their body by doing this to pass their leisure. Walking helps you to maintain a balanced cardiovascular and respiratory system.
Harvard researchers found that the effects of weight-promoting genes were reduced by half for people who walked an hour a day. According to a report of Harvard Health Publications, walking helps to avoid high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, depression, memory issues, and many other problems.
Walking keeps many vital muscle groups active, including those that you use every day. Your lower leg muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus are the main targeted muscle groups when you walk. Some muscles of the upper body, such as abdominal and back muscles, also get involved.
Thus, engaging your muscles by going on a daily walk will help you reach your fitness goal without straining your muscles.
Cycling is a low-impact, healthy, and safe activity that people of all ages can enjoy. It gives you a good muscle workout and increases your strength and stamina. There are many health benefits of cycling-
- Strengthen your immune system
- Strengthen your muscles.
- Improves cardiovascular fitness and increases balance and stability.
- It improves your mental well-being.
- It prevents many serious diseases.
Cycling is excellent for reducing body fat, and it helps to increase metabolism. People who go to their work cycling have a 46% lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and a 52% lower risk of dying from it. Also, they have a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer.
Cycling is a fun way of exercise. So, what are you waiting for? Take your cycle and go out and have some fun on the streets. Boom! Your workout is done!
From shoulder strength to improved lung capacity, swimming gives you a load of advantages. You can say goodbye to the sweaty workouts as swimming has the benefits of cardio exercises. Swimming gives your entire body an excellent workout. It helps to strengthen your core, arms, legs, glutes, and back.
You will be able to float through your activity without putting any extra strain on your joints. Swimming targets almost every muscle group of your body. The muscle groups engaged in swimming are the gluteus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoids, lats, rhomboids, and many more.
Swimming will help you build muscular endurance in the shoulders, arms, and lower body. Not only that, but it also helps to improve flexibility and strength. It is an excellent workout for hot weather as the water will keep you cool. It is a good option for people recovering from an injury or who are overweight and unable to begin exercising or walking to lose weight.
If gardening is one of your hobbies, you might be delighted to know that it is considered an excellent low-impact workout. Thus, you can get the benefits of low-impact exercises by doing the thing you like to do.
According to an article by the University of Arkansas, women over 50 who do gardening at least once a week have higher bone density than those who exercised in other ways. It reduced their risk of osteoporosis, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
This form of workout is more enjoyable and less stressful. This low-impact exercise improves your physical fitness, and as a cherry on top, your mental health also gets benefited from it. Gardening helps with depression, anxiety, and loneliness. It is an outstanding workout option for older people and people who love to stay in touch with nature.
Hiking is another high-intensity, low-impact exercise. Climbing up a mountain engages the massive muscles of the glutes, hips, and thighs, which is just what you want for an intense cardio workout.
Hiking is a powerful low-impact workout that has tons of benefits-
- Hiking reduces the chances of getting heart diseases and lower blood pressure and sugar levels.
- Strengthen the core, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip and lower leg muscles.
- It improves your balance and endurance.
- It helps in weight management.
- It helps to improve your mood and mental well-being.
However, for your safety, never go on hiking alone. Always check the weather and wear something comfortable before going hiking.
5 Beginner-friendly Low Impact Workouts to Try at the Gym
If you want to take your low-impact exercises to the next level, hit the Gym. You can go to your nearby Gym and work out in the low-impact machines. There is plenty of low-impact gym equipment that you might love to try.
Here’s a list of few workouts you can try at the Gym-
An elliptical is my favorite low-impact workout machine. It is easy and fun to use. If you have a problem in your lower back or any joint pain, this is the machine for you.
The machine has a wide range of options, such as resistance level or incline feature. With the help of these features, you can control the intensity of your workout. The elliptical has a fluid motion, and you have to move your legs and arms continuously. So, it gives a complete workout for your body.
The elliptical will help you improve your heart, lungs, and muscles while also improving endurance. As your feet never leave the pedals, it doesn’t strain or put pressure on your ankles and knees. There is a lower risk of any injury, so it is the perfect workout machine for beginners. Try working out on the elliptical once. I’m sure you will love it.
2. Rowing machine
You can get a fantastic workout on the rowing machine. The main muscle groups involved in the exercise are the quads, glutes, and calves, biceps, lats, and abs. It’s a high-intensity full-body workout. The best part is that there is no strain on the knees and ankles, making it a low-impact exercise.
Your feet are put on a table, you hold a handle in both hands, and you sit on a seat that moves back and forth while using the rower. After that, you start rowing, which has a low impact on your body but a high impact on your cardiovascular system and back muscles.
So, you can consider the rowing machine to use as a low-impact workout tool and keep your body in shape.
3. Exercise bike
You can use the exercise bike as an alternative to cycling. It is an ideal machine for beginners as anybody can easily exercise on the machine. It helps to increase your lung capacity and strengthen your heart.
Working out on a stationary bike is an effective way to burn calories and boost your cardio fitness. The machine movements are smooth. So, It won’t be a problem if you have joint issues or injuries because exercise bikes don’t put much pressure on your joints.
TRX or ‘total-body resistance exercises’ is suitable for people of all fitness levels. TRX exercises are also beneficial for improving flexibility, balance, core power, arm, leg, and back strength.
It is not actually a machine but a device that helps you stretch your body and try different exercise moves. If you have bad knees, you can try this out as it doesn’t stress your knees but gives you a challenging workout experience.
Stairmaster is a fantastic fitness machine that rotates steps, enabling the user to ascend upward at his or her own pace and time. It mainly helps to engage the lower body muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Besides burning calories, it helps to improve your bone density and core strength.
It is a versatile machine having lots of settings and features. The machine helps to relieve knee pain and is easy to use.
As a beginner, start by exercising with these simple machines at the Gym. You will be able to use these machines efficiently. However, before beginning to work out on the above-listed machines, consider learning from an expert to avoid any risks.
For many low impact workouts are the only possible way to get the exercise down. And for others, it is a gentle gateway to the world of fitness. Whichever category you belong to, I hope this article was able to teach you about what low impact workout is and the various exercises that are included in it, so that you can start doing them yourself.
Thank you for reading and best of luck on your journey to peak physical fitness.