Low-impact exercises can be a great option for people who are new to exercise or haven’t done it in a while; suffer from arthritis; are older in age, overweight, or pregnant; or have back, bone, or joint problems.
They may also be done by people who need a break from the wear and tear of high impact workouts like running or contact sports.
Low-impact exercises are good because they aren’t as hard on your body. If your physical conditioning isn’t the best or your body can’t handle the jolting of running or bouncing, low-impact activities can be a solution to help you get or stay active.
Biking, elliptical machines, step aerobics, swimming, walking, and yoga are examples of low-impact exercises. What makes them low-impact is the motion your body goes through while doing them – one of your feet always stays on the ground.
Despite the word “low,” don’t be fooled. Low-impact exercises can still get your heart pumping and help you burn calories, workout your body, and lose weight.
To put the below calorie expenditures in perspective, if a 140 pound woman ran at 5 mph for 45 minutes on a level surface, she can burn about 450 calories.
To get more heart-health benefits from your low-impact exercises, you need to raise your heart rate. This can be done by increasing the speed you’re moving, going uphill or up stairs, or making sure that your arms are moving with the rest of your body.
To find the estimated target heart rate that you want to hit during your workout, check out this table from the American Heart Association. (Note: The figures are averages.)
Being physically active comes with its own set of challenges for each person. But if there’s one thing that’s true for us all – being physically active has tremendous health benefits. It can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of diseases, manage stress levels, improve your mood, and much more.
So find activities that you enjoy and that feel good on your body and get moving. Remember to take it slow in the beginning and build your way up. Over exerting yourself or putting unrealistic demands on your body is certain to make your exercising routine short-lived.
If you have any concerns about starting a new exercise routine, or if you experience dizziness, shortness of breath, or pain while exercising, stop and talk to your doctor.