After many years of working out, bouncing off walls and the road, and working with people who have injured themselves doing the same, I have decided that high intensity is not always the way forward for certain people and lifestyles. Low impact is now my mantra.
So, what are low impact exercises, I hear you ask? They are exercise movements where one foot ( or both) stays on the ground at all times or the whole body is supported by a machine. During the movement, little or no tension and pressure is placed on your joints and so, they are more gentle on the body and great for the mind. Some low impact methods that are great for all age groups and fitness levels include:
Walking: Brisk walking is the most stress-free cardio workout out there. Just put on your trainers and hit the road or treadmill. The thing with walking (and really every workout method) is your intensity and consistency. Start slowly and build up your time for example, start with 20mins, then 40, then 60mins. From this point, your focus should then be increasing your pace by the turnover of your steps as opposed to taking larger steps.
Water works: Swimming and water aerobics are great if you like being wet… Doing exercise in the water is great for conditioning the muscles with no impact on the joints because the buoyancy of water works against the gravitational pull. Stretching and strengthening exercises are less painful. In fact, you usually don’t feel anything in your muscles till hours after.
Weights: Most strength training exercises are low-impact and you still work up bucket loads of sweat while burning unwanted fat and keeping the body toned, they are very key to every fitness program. So bring on the kettle bells!
Cycling: Is another fun low impact method, cycling outdoors is great but have you tried a spin class? My goodness! Those can be quite intense and fun.
Pilates: This is my personal favorite low impact exercise method. It works your muscles and your skeleton, improving both strength and flexibility. It is just simply amazing, Pilates is actually a functional exercise method because the principles that you learn from it can be applied to your everyday life and other exercise. Principles like breathing, core strength and engagement. I’ll be sharing more on the Pilates method.
Low impact exercises must not be confused with no intensity, in fact, some of the intensity levels they bring challenges your body and mind in ways you never imagined. Many low impact aerobic exercises can burn more fat and more calories than the older traditional high impact exercises, for example spinning (cycling) burns more calories than a traditional aerobics class.
A major thing with low-impact exercises is that injuries and strains, especially in the lower body, are reduced. I have found that if you are not a workout buff, this is the best way to start the fitness journey and stay on it longer. You only have one body and your fitness journey should be for a life time, and so must be gentle on your body so you can work out over a longer period of time
What exercise method are you a fan of? And why?
Love your body….