Does the thought of exercise make you cringe? Are you new to physical activity or recovering from an injury? There are plenty of low-impact exercises you can do that will get your heart rate up and help strengthen your heart and lungs without overexerting yourself.
Whether you use a stationary bike or hit the pavement, cycling is a great, low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise. Although cycling mainly works your leg muscles, depending on the type of exercise you perform, it can act as a total body workout. A stationary bike is the perfect alternative when the weather outside prevents you from riding or you live in an extremely hilly area or one that isn’t conducive to outside riding. If you’re looking for an intense version of cycling, try spinning, which involves active movement during the workout but may put additional pressure on the knees and back.
This is another low-impact exercise that you can do either outdoors or inside. Many gyms offer a rowing machine for members. Here, you comfortably sit on the machine and use the muscles in your arms, legs, and core to perform a rowing motion, similar to one you would perform in a boat using oars. Rowing is a great cardiovascular and strength training exercise. If you’re looking to take in some vitamin D while you workout, trying rowing in a canoe or kayak on a nearby lake or pond.
Swimming and Water Aerobics
Swimming is one of the best, most effective exercises you can perform. Not only is it a total body workout but it’s also low-impact due to the weightless feeling water gives you. There are also many options for performing water exercises. You can try some basic moves like the breaststroke, traditional freestyle, and the backstroke. For elderly people or those recovering from an injury, treading water is a great way to burn calories and strengthen your upper body. Water aerobics is also a popular water exercise and often incorporates water weights and simple movements to strengthen the muscles in your arms, legs, and core. All these movements are performed in the weightless environment of a pool or body of water.
Both yoga and Pilates offer countless health benefits from increased flexibility and muscle tone to overall mental wellbeing. Yoga focuses on a relaxed state of mind where you are toning muscles, stretching, and strengthening with little to no impact. If you’re looking to increase the intensity, try hot yoga, powerflow yoga, or even the aerial variety! Pilates is somewhat more intense than yoga but also involves an emphasis on your breathing as it relates to muscle tightness and strength. Both yoga and pilates are performed primarily on a mat on the floor or using balance and core strength while standing, making them the perfect low-impact exercise.
Walking is one of the best low impact exercise there is. It is versatile, which makes it great for people of any age and those recovering from an injury or dealing with additional health complications. Weight loss is another added benefit of walking every day. This exercise is easy and fun! Another awesome thing about walking for your health is that you can incorporate it into your everyday routine. Try taking a brisk walk in the early morning hours prior to starting your day, on your lunch break, or after dinner. You can try taking the stairs versus the elevator at work or park farther away from the store next time you’re shopping. Even walking around the shopping mall counts as exercise! If you’re looking to burn additional calories or really get your heart rate going, try focusing on your pace and breathing. The faster you walk, the higher your heart rate will climb and the more calories you’ll burn.
Just because you can’t run a marathon or bench press heavy weights, it doesn’t mean you can’t exercise or that there aren’t exercise alternatives for you. There are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up, burn some calories, lose weight, and stay healthy with these low-impact alternatives.
Article Submitted By Community Writer