You may have heard of both high impact and low impact exercises and not understood the difference between the two. Both help you stay fit and both have a place in your workout program. High impact exercises will move your feet off the ground at the same time, such as jumping jacks, so you can understand why people with joint issues or pregnant women shouldn’t do them. Low impact exercises include things like walking or bicycling. They’re easy on joints and muscles, so if you have leg muscle or joint injuries, you’ll probably want to stick with those.
Why would anyone want to do high impact exercises if they’re riskier?
There’s a lot of reasons to do high impact workouts. They’re better for weight loss, provide a bigger challenge and help you get fit faster. They also build bone density better than low impact workouts do, but if you have osteoporosis, you need to stick to low impact workouts due to the potential risk. Low impact workouts are good for people recovering from injury, are easy on the joints and improve balance, while still get your heart going if you’re doing an intense low impact workout, such as boxing.
You can do some low impact workouts every day.
Walking is one of the best low impact workouts for people recovering or just starting a fitness regimen. If you want to make it more intense, try brisk walking or use a hilly terrain. You can even create a HIIT—high intensity interval training—program by varying the speed from top speed walking for a minute to recovery mid speed walking for an equal or longer time period. Use the steps for your workout. Gyms have stair climbers, but if you live in a two story building, you have even better—real stairs. If you work on an upper floor in a tall building, try walking up as many flights as you can and take the elevators the rest of the way. Adjust your speed to boost the intensity.
Lifting weights is a great low impact workout.
Again, the beauty of lifting weights is that you can adjust how easy or hard it is. Increase the weight you lift or increase the intensity and reps and you have a more difficult routine that will get you into shape fast. If you’re at the gym, check out the rowing machine. It’s another good low impact workout that will help you work up a sweat and provide a great cardio workout.
- If you want to have fun or take up a hobby that will give you a great low impact workout, try rock climbing, tai chi or yoga. If you’ve never practiced yoga before, you’ll be surprised at how hard it is and how much it makes you sweat.
- Take to the water to save your joints. Swimming and water aerobics are excellent ways to get a good low-impact workout. Both can lower your blood pressure and help control blood sugar, while burning calories and making you stronger.
- Dance your calories away and bring that fitness to you. Dancing is one of the best exercises, particularly ballroom dancing. However, you can turn on the music loud and boogie your way to good health at home, without a partner.
- There are so many great past times that provide an exceptional low impact workout. Rollerblading, roller skating, TRX and even golf can help you get into shape. Keeping active is what it’s all about, even if you just take a walk.