In the fitness world, some of the most prescribed ways to lose weight and get healthy are often some of the most intense and high-impact ways to workout. Exercises such as running, jumping/plyo, and heavy lifting are sure to burn calories and fat and help you lose weight, but they can also be hard on your joints and lead to injuries. Luckily, there are some low-impact exercise, meaning they get your heart rate up but don’t put as much pressure on your joints, that will help you in your effort to get healthy.
Heading into the pool for a swim is one of the best cardio workouts around. Swimming can be an intense workout that will help you breath deeper and torch calories, but it’s easy on your joints. As you swim laps or workout in the water, the water will help to support some of your weight, making it less difficult on your joints while you get in a great workout. And don’t worry if you aren’t sweating as much in the cool water, as long as you get your heart rate up, you’re still working towards losing weight and getting healthy.
Walking or using an elliptical machine are fantastic low-impact alternates to running. When you walk at a fast pace, you still get an aerobic workout, which helps to burn fat and calories and speed up weight loss. What you don’t get is achy knees and ankles as you may from running on either the pavement or the treadmill. An elliptical machine works in the same way. You get a big range of motion that can simulate running, without the intense pressure of a run. Some elliptical machines also have arm handles that move, which will help you burn even more calories and get your heart rate up even more, still without any joint pressure.
Taking a kickboxing class or working out to a kickboxing DVD is another low-impact, high-results workout. Kickboxing scorches calories and will probably make you sweat a ton, but it won’t make your knees, hips or ankles ache. Even thought it might look like you’re putting pressure on your joints as you lift to kick or squat to block a punch, you are actually learning to support your weight and align your joints to prevent stress. In kickboxing, you’re encouraged to use your core muscles to help support the body as you kick and punch, so you aren’t straining your joints
4. Mat Work
Yoga, Pilates and core work are all low-impact exercises that help to build core strength by toning the muscles in the stomach, back and hips, as well as strengthen the arms and legs. Because all of these exercises are performed on a mat, they are low-impact on your joints and often use props of cushioned mats to help protect the joints even more. Although you won’t get your heart rate up or burn as many calories in these classes, they do help to release aches and pains in the body as well as build muscle. The more muscle you have versus fat, the more calories you burn when you aren’t working out, such as sitting at your desk, driving in your car, or cooking your dinner.