Low-impact exercises are often overlooked and overshadowed by high-impact, high-intensity and high-speed moves. But low-impact workouts still play a very important part in many training regimes and can be just as effective at burning fat and improving fitness as their high-intensity counterparts. In fact, low-impact exercises boast a massive list of benefits that make them the perfect choice for for beginners to exercise, older adults, people with injuries or joint problems, as well as during and post-pregnancy.
Are easier on your joints – studies have even shown that low-impact exercise may even promote the healing and recovery of damaged joints.
Can decrease risk of heart problems – moving your body and getting your heart pumping can improve blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and even lower the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
Don’t equal low intensity - reach your target heart rate zone, which is between 60 and 75 percent of your maximum heart rate, and start burning big calories and hitting big fitness goals.
Start making a big impact on your health with the 7 best low-impact exercises, suitable for all fitness levels.
Hop on the bike for a low impact option that can get your heart racing and muscles well and truly switched on. Pound the pedals to your own beat or join a cycle class [internal link – goodlife.com.au/cycle] for some speed rounds, a hill or two and an extra challenge that you can complete at your own pace.
A UK-based paper, Cycling and Health, stated that as well as improving physical health, this low-impact exercise has a positive affect on emotional health – improving levels of wellbeing, self-confidence and tolerance to stress while reducing tiredness, difficulties with sleep and a range of medical symptoms.
Using your legs, your back, your arms, your core, the rowing machine is a fantastic all-over body workout that can be scaled up and down in intensity through the effort put in, while still ticking off both your strength and cardio goals.
The elliptical machine – or cross-trainer – takes all impact off the joints with it’s gliding motion and adds a sneaky upper body workout in at the same time – meaning a big fat blasting workout with the whole body working up a sweat.
A study found that heart rate and oxygen consumption while training on an elliptical machine are almost the same as those of running on a treadmill – but the impact force through the feet is more comparable to walking, highlighting the low impact nature of the elliptical machine for users.
Zumba class can be a very fun and energetic way to add some funky moves to your exercise routine and this Latin-inspired cardio dance craze can have you vigorously hitting big calories without realising just how hard you’re working.
Most strength training exercises are low impact, but also a great way to work up a sweat and feel the muscles really working. Make sure you ditch the squat jumps or other plyometric movements and go for static moves such as squats or lunges, push ups, pull ups and core work. Try a strength based circuit targeting all the main muscle groups – it will be low impact but a great way to challenge your body.
Known for it’s many benefits including increased flexibility, better posture, improved muscle tone and strength, stress relief and boosted blood flow, yoga can be completed by all fitness levels and will certainly slow your body down for the better.
Research published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, have shown that practicing yoga is more effective than physical therapy at reducing pain, anxiety and depression, and improving spinal mobility.
TRX exercises are based around a suspension strap system and can work every muscle in the body in an intense way. With no added weight needed for exercises, TRX allows you to increase or decrease the intensity of a movement through the angle of your body, while staying easy on joints and low impact in its nature.