The Ultimate Guide to Low Impact Cardio Workouts
Running, plyometrics, HIIT training, and other forms of cardio exercises take a toll on our bodies. So to avoid injury and allow yourself time to heal between high-intensity cardio, it is important to incorporate low impact cardio workouts into your routine.
What Is Low Impact Cardio?
High impact cardio and low impact cardio differ in how much stress they cause on your body. When you are sprinting, jumping, running long distances, or doing burpees, your joints and ligaments are constantly straining and beating up against each other which causes stress in your muscles, ligaments, and bones. While some of that is necessary to improve your overall conditioning strength, low impact exercises can still offer the health benefits of these workouts while decreasing the stress.
If you are a distance runner or complete a lot of high impact exercising, you may want to add some of the following low impact activities into your routine.
1 | Elliptical
Ellipticals allow for many of the same actions in your hips and knees that a treadmill requires but without the impact that your legs get. While you won’t burn quite as many calories as you would on the treadmill, the difference will be minimal. Since the range of motion on an elliptical is large and your workout is adjustable for intensity, it is a fantastic option for runners to train and allow their joints to rest. It is also perfect for the rest of us who don’t love hopping on the pavement or the treadmill.
2 | Rower
Indoor rowers can be found on our gym floor and in Team Training. The looks of the rower might fool you, but there are countless row machine benefits. After all, sitting with your feet propped up for the duration of your cardio workout sounds pretty good. This low-impact exercise elevates your heart rate and can leave you burning calories well after your workout is through. To keep your rowing workouts interesting—time yourself. See how quickly you can row through 200 meters, and then try to beat that. It gives you something to work towards and makes the workout more exciting in general.
3 | Cycling
As a child, you probably never even considered how beneficial a bike would be to your future. Indoor cycling classes and riding bikes, in general, cause minimal joint strain and still allow you to bust through calories and break a sweat. Just hop into an indoor cycling class at one of our clubs and see!
4 | Swimming
For one of the best low-impact exercises around, many athletes look to swimming for cardio. Since the water relieves your joints and bones of pressure, you can push yourself to your max while still completing your workout at a lower heart rate. Though some people see this as a negative, others claim that the cool water and pressure allow for a smoother exchange of oxygen. For people with joint pain, your best option for a great workout may be the lap pool.
5 | Stair Climber
Oh, the stair climber. That machine you either love to love or love to hate. Whatever you may think, the stair climber is one thing for sure—effective. This machine allows you to walk up stairs while standing in the same place. It is a great glute workout, building up your booty and leg muscles, and even helping you to engage your core. And it’s not just about walking up the stairs either. You can switch up your workout by skipping stairs, or standing sideways while holding onto the handle for balance and walking up the stairs with the sides of your feet, or using one foot to step forward while the other follows behind. There are plenty of ways to mix up a low impact stair-climbing exercise so that you never get bored!
6 | Battle Ropes
If you head to the turf area, you may see some long heavy looking ropes laying across the floor from time to time. These are battle ropes. While they look intimidating—kinda like only people training for a competition would be able to use them—they are a great way to get in a low-impact cardio workout and work on toning your arms as well! Don’t be intimidated. Just grab the ropes on each end, and try a battle rope wave. With your arms, out in front of you holding the rope, and your legs hip-width apart, get into a squat position and then raise and lower the rope up and down as fast as you can alternating arms. Try and do this as much as you can for one minute and then allow yourself to rest. You will definitely feel sore and like you’ve just completed a tough workout—because you did! Low impact doesn’t mean easy. It just means easier on your joints. If you are not sure how to use the ropes, grab someone on our team, and we would be happy to show you the proper form so that you can complete your low impact workout!
For most of us, our cardio routines should consist of high-impact and low-impact cardio exercises. If high-impact cardio exercise isn’t your thing, rest assured that you can get a challenging workout without harming your joints and muscles by keeping it low-impact every time. If you want to try out some new exercises, come to any of our Chuze Fitness locations; we would love to get to know you!