Low impact exercise is a type of exercise that is characterized by the absence of high amounts of weight bearing activity. This type of exercise is often embraced by individuals who have suffered a joint injury in the past, and are looking for a new way to maintain or improve their fitness level. Walking, swimming, rowing and biking are all great low impact activities that can help improve both your cardiovascular and strength systems.
Walking is one of the all-around best low impact exercises for high impact results that you can do. This is due to a number of reasons. Walking is not only inexpensive, but it can be done almost anywhere, anytime, by anyone, regardless of age or ability level. Walking can be easily altered to meet your specific goals or needs. For example, if you have a knee, hip or ankle problem that prohibits you from walking up inclines, you can still get a great workout simply by walking at a faster pace on a flat surface.
Swimming is another great form of low impact exercise that can produce dramatic results. Swimming is a great way to lose weight and improve the condition of your cardiovascular system. However, swimming has also been found to produce great increases in muscle mass and flexibility, and has even been found to be effective in the treatment of arthritis and other rheumatological conditions. Unlike walking, however, swimming does require some expense. You don't need to own your own pool to get in a good swim, but you will need to have access to a pool of some kind. Most private gyms these days include pool access in their regular rates. In addition, the high school in your area may allow open swim to the citizens of the community at a lower or reduced rate.
Rowing is yet another great form of low impact exercise that has been proven to be quite successful. As with the exercises above, rowing helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system without doing any damage to joints. It's a great way to strengthen the muscles of your upper body. In fact, rowing has been found to be such a good source of exercise, that there are now specific indoor machines made to mimic the effects of rowing. Therefore, even if you don't own a rowboat, or can't get to your favorite water spot, you can still row indoors.
Biking is one of the most popular of all low impact exercises. It improves both cardiovascular and strength function. Biking is a relatively low-cost activity that can enjoyed by all members of your family. When biking, be sure to use caution and follow some basic safety guidelines. Bikers should always wear protective headgear when on the bike, and ideally should have some sort of reflective material on their bikes, making them more visible to cars.