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Fitness

6 Excellent Low Impact Exercises

5 Mins read

There are many benefits of low impact exercises, such as working on your physical fitness with less risk of injuries and less strain on the joints. Low impact exercises such as swimming, walking, cycling or yoga place much less strain on the joints compared to high impact exercises such as running, playing soccer or doing CrossFit. High impact workouts are harder on the body, and there is a higher chance of injury or post-workout soreness.

Whether you choose to do high impact or low impact exercises, any form of exercise is better than no exercise at all. The most important thing is to avoid being sedentary all day.

It’s a myth that low impact exercises won’t burn many calories or help you lose weight. Many low impact exercises are still excellent cardiovascular workouts that improve your muscular endurance and build muscle strength while burning tons of calories. Just ask anyone who does spin classes, water aerobics or power yoga. You can absolutely lose weight, tone your body, get fit and improve your health by doing regular low impact exercises.

Who is Best Suited for Low Impact Exercises?

Some people prefer high impact exercise, and they’re better suited for high impact workouts. On the other hand, many people are best suited for low impact exercises. Below are some signs you’re probably best suited for low impact forms of exercise:

  • You’re just getting back into a fitness routine after a long period of not exercising
  • If you’re recovering from an injury such as a car accident or sports injury
  • You’re out of shape or overweight
  • Experiencing inflammation of the joints or joint pain due to arthritis or another health condition
  • You’re especially stressed or anxious and in need of a more meditative form of exercise
  • You’re pregnant
  • A senior citizen
  • Prone to injury
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1. Outdoor Cycling or Indoor Spin Classes

Whether you cycle outdoors or indoors at a spin class, cycling is one of the best low impact forms of cardio out there. Indoor cycling is especially effective for weight loss and cardiovascular health. In fact, if you join a spin studio and start going to indoor spin classes, you’ll find that spin classes are one of the best high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts available. You’ll get your heart rate up, sweat, and enjoy a fun cardio session without putting excess strain on your joints. Some spin classes even have choreography that includes the use of hand weights while you’re on the bike. 

According to Spin Society, “Spinning is a full body workout which involves cardio, choreography and strength with small hand weights. Every ride will get your whole body working.”

2. Walking or Hiking

Not only is it important to exercise, but it’s also important to get fresh air and spend time in nature. Spending time in nature is scientifically linked to increased feelings of happiness, and you’ll find that nature walks and scenic hikes are a mood-booster as well as a great form of low impact exercise.

It’s excellent for your mental health to spend time in nature and to get out of the house and be outdoors. Walking or hiking a nature trail is one of the best low impact exercises that anyone at any fitness level can do. Some people enjoy listening to the sounds of nature while they walk or hike, and others like to listen to a podcast, audiobook or playlist. Try to walk for at least one hour every day, and you’ll notice the difference in your mental and physical health.

3. Water Aerobics

Water aerobics, also known as aquatic fitness, is a fun type of low impact exercise that can be done indoors or outdoors. Your neighborhood likely has a community center with an indoor pool, or perhaps you have an outdoor pool, a pool in your apartment building, or you have access to a nearby lake. 

Water aerobics are fun, calorie-burning, muscle-strengthening workouts that happen to also be very easy on your joints. Any exercise done in water is said to be low impact. This is because the water’s buoyancy reduces the impact on your joints compared to the impact that hard, dry ground puts on your joints when you exercise. Check out these 6 water aerobic exercises to get fit at the pool.

4. Swimming

Swimming is one of the most beneficial low impact exercises out there because of its many health benefits. Not only is swimming a fat-burning cardio exercise that also strengthens and tones your muscles, but it’s also excellent for improving lung health and bone health. The variety of health benefits of swimming make it a low impact exercise that would be very healthy to incorporate into your fitness routine.

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5. Tai Chi or Yoga

You’re likely familiar with yoga, as it’s one of the most popular low impact exercises people participate in. You may or may not be familiar with Tai Chi, which is somewhat similar to yoga, and another good low impact exercise many people enjoy. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese form of martial arts involving a continuous and gentle flow of movement.

Tai Chi is similar to yoga because they’re both peaceful, gentle, non-competitive and low-impact exercises that are especially gentle on the body. They’re also both meditative in nature, and relaxing for the mind, making them both great for coping with anxiety. 

Tai Chi and yoga are both low impact exercises known for reducing stress. They both artfully combine body movements with breathwork to create a kind of ‘moving meditation’. 

So, how are they different? For one thing, Tai Chi involves a continuous flow of movement, and yoga differs in that it often requires various positions to be held for a period of time. Tai Chi is traditionally done outdoors, while yoga is often done indoors inside of yoga studios. 

6. Kayaking or Rowing

Kayaking or rowing is a great way to get some sunshine, enjoy the outdoors, spend time in nature and get exercise at the same time. Many people love kayaking or rowing because of how beautiful and scenic the visual experience is, while you’re out on the water. Kayaking is especially healing for those who need solo experiences in nature to reflect or improve their mood.

Aside from the mental health benefits of getting out on the water and the beauty you’ll experience, kayaking or rowing are both excellent physical exercises.

You’ll improve muscle strength, especially in your back, arms, shoulders, chest and core. Since you repetitively twist your torso and engage your core while paddling, it’s a great core workout while also toning your arms and back. 

Find Out Your Optimal Fitness Routine Based on Your Genetic Strengths 

Your genetic strengths and weaknesses can tell you a lot about what your ideal exercise program should be. For example, some people are genetically more likely to have higher endurance and lower strength, and vice versa. 

When you take a CircleDNA test, you’ll receive hundreds of reports about your health, including a fitness report based on your DNA which reveals the optimal fitness training program for you.

Erica Gordon
149 posts

About author
Erica Gordon is the Managing Editor and Director of Content at Circle Magazine. Erica majored in Psychology at UBC and has since founded The Babe Report and followed her passion for writing and journalism, with a focus on health and travel writing.
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