When you do the same type of workout often, you use the same muscle groups. We often think about our muscles (usually because they’re sore) but what about our joints?
Weight lifting exercises and endurance training (where are my runners at?) can put strain on our joints. As we move through different seasons of our lives it might be necessary to take a break from joint-straining activities.
You might be tempted to think that means your workouts need to take a back seat or be less effective? That’s not the case.
Low impact workouts are just as effective as an exercise program. They’re just easier on your body, particularly your joints. You’ll still get your heart pumping, but you’ll also have peace of mind that you’re taking care of your body and avoiding injury.
What does “low impact” mean?
Low impact exercises are any exercise where one foot stays on the ground at all times.
Here are some awesome exercises that will give you a great workout and be friendly to your joints at the same time. All of these are great additions to your healthy, active lifestyle.
1. Walking or Hiking
Walking is an obvious choice for low-impact movement. You can take it up a notch by going for a hike. The intensity and duration of the trail you take will determine the level of your workout. Choose what’s right for you and enjoy the pain-free movement.
A great way to feel the burn and strengthen your muscles without putting strain on your joints. You can do yoga sequences as your main workout or add a few poses to any other workout. Your body will thank you.
A great workout for strengthening your core that can also help you lean out, without joint pain. Pilates moves can be modified for every strength level and you can do them at home, or at a studio on a reformer.
4. Tai chi
You may have seen movies with groups of seniors doing this gentle, fluid movement in the park. Tai chi is peaceful for the mind and improves balance and coordination – things we can all use. Make it part of your exercise routine today.
5. Ballroom dancing
Partner dancing can be a fun and social way to get your movement in. Grab a partner and give it a try.
6. Rock climbing
If you’re looking for a way to earn your muscle, this is it. Climbing requires slow, controlled movements, which gives your muscles a great workout without the added strain.
Strap on a pair of snowshoes and get outside this winter! It’s a great way to spice up your winter walk and still get fresh air on those cold days. Look for a trail in your city, or head out for a walk in your local park. Snowshoeing, like walking on sand, is more of a workout than on pavement so even a short time outside will help you meet your daily movement goal.
8. Cross-country skiing
Don’t let this low-impact winter activity fool you – it’s a workout. It requires only light pressure on your joints and you can choose the intensity by going for flat terrain or hills. It’s a fun way to get more outdoor activity in the winter.
A favourite summer activity, golf is an endurance sport. Whether you play a full 18 holes or just go to the driving range to hit balls, you can enjoy movement and build your skill without pressure on your joints. Golf promotes cardiovascular health, strength and balance while clocking you time outdoors with friends – count me in!
10. SUP or Kayaking
Two great watersports that engage your core and upper body. Explore the water and enjoy time in nature by getting out on the water this summer. For an extra workout, try SUP yoga!
11. Swimming or Water aerobics
Swimming laps at your local pool is a fun way to build strength and endurance. Laps not your thing? Try water aerobics in the pool for a fun and social way to build strength and let the water take some of the weight off your joints.
Another water sport that builds strength and endurance while you get a tan! If rowing on the water isn’t possible for you, hop on the rowing machine at your local gym. It’s a great workout for your arms, back, legs, and core.
Ever wonder where the TRX got its name? It’s because this strap suspension system lets you do total-body resistance exercises. It’s easy on your joints but challenging for the rest of your body. There are plenty of ways to feel the burn for upper body, lower body and core!
When compared with the treadmill, the elliptical takes the cake when it comes to putting less stress on your legs. Adjust your program to add intensity or take it easy according to what your body needs that day.
A classic low-impact exercise, cycling is great for building strength in your lower body and core without compromising your joints. You can even strap on weights to turn up the challenge. Whether it’s an indoor recumbent bike, an outdoor cycle, or a spin class, cycling is a great addition to your fitness routine.
16. Step aerobics or Zumba
Not just an 80’s workout! Step aerobics have been around for decades and are still alive and well. This timeless cardio workout let’s without all the pounding.
Prefer to dance? Get your cardio in with a fun choreographed Zumba class. The best part? You can do it in your living room without any equipment, or head to your local group fitness center to join in the party.
17. Strength training
You might be thinking strength training is off the low-impact list, but that’s not the case. There are plenty of strength training exercises that are low-impact, and they still work up a sweat. Look for moves like static lunges, resistance band exercises and ab workouts. You can find plenty of low-impact, joint-friendly, strength building exercises in the MoveCamp programming. Click here to learn more about MoveCamp workouts and join the next free session.