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7 Low-Impact Cardio Exercises

7-low-impact-cardio-exercises
Cardio workouts are an essential part of any fitness routine. They make our heart healthy, burn calories, and combined with the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/">**right diet**</a>, can help with weight loss. And when you think of cardio exercises, you probably think of the classics: running, biking, rowing, and swimming. All great types of cardio, but the first three put a lot of stress on your joints, and swimming requires a pool. So, what are you supposed to do if you want to do a cardio workout, want to work out at home, and yet have joint pain? Try these seven low-impact cardio exercises. They will get your heart rate up without stressing your joints. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/sit+to+stand.jpg" alt="SitToStand"> </div> <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">1. Sit to Stand</p></h4> The sit to stand uses the same muscles as a squat. It’s great for beginners or anyone with lower body joint pain. And all you need is a chair! Here’s how to do it: get your feet set up slightly wider than shoulder width apart with your toes pointing out at a forty-five degree angle. With your bodyweight in your heels (not the toes), push your butt back to the chair or target (a stool works, too). Keep your belly and back tight. The key really is to think ‘butt back.’ If your butt doesn’t go back first (which means your hips bend first), you’ll naturally lean forward and bend your knees, placing a lot of stress on the knee joint. Inhale as you go down and hover over your target. Sit back on the chair, then stand up, again driving through your heels. To finish the rep, push your hips through at the top so you are standing up fully. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/step+jack.jpg" alt="StepJack"> </div> <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">2. Step Jacks</p></h4> The step jack is a low-impact workout precursor to the jumping jack. The benefit of step jacks is that you learn the form before you add in the jump, which saves you from unnecessary stress on your knees. It’s also a good opportunity to practice. To do a step jack, start with your feet together. You’ll be moving laterally, so start to one side of your mat or workout space. Activating your glutes and pushing through off your toes, your body travels to the left (or right) as seen above. Think of it as an exaggerated dance step-to the left, to the right, and so on. Adding the arms, start with your spine straight. An easy way to do this is to make a ‘proud’ chest. Avoid shrugging your shoulders or putting the arms in front of your face. Your arms travel up and overhead (as seen above) and return to your side in rhythm with your feet. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/burpee.jpg" alt="Burpee"> </div> <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">3. Burpee Walkout</p></h4> Burpees are perhaps the king of living room cardio and calorie-burning exercises. They are tough, but the burpee walkout helps prepare you for them. A burpee walkout starts and ends in a standing position. In between, you’ll move your body into a plank. Begin in a ‘ready’ stance with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. In a ‘ready’ stance, your weight is in your heels and you are balanced. Bring your hands to the floor by hinging at the hips, not squatting (think of picking something up off the ground). With your hands on the ground, keep your shoulders active as you press through your hands and bring one foot, then the other to a plank position. Return each foot to where they started. Push through your hands again, rocking yourself back to a crouch. Stand to finish. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/mountain+climber.jpg" alt="MountainClimber"> </div> <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">4. Mountain Climbers (for Beginners)</p></h4> For a good low-impact workout, mountain climbers give burpees a run for their money in terms of exercises you can do at home. However, they may be challenging for a beginner’s fitness level. Here’s how to start your mountain climber progression. Begin in a push-up position. The key to this position is your hands. Keep your shoulders active (externally rotated) and a firm grip on the ground. Imagine you are dragging your hands towards your belly button. This will activate your upper back and shoulder muscles. In your push-up position, drive your right knee to your elbow or as close as possible. Bring that foot back, then bring the left toward your left elbow. Keep repeating that motion. If you’re a beginner, count each rep and breathe in between each step. Slowly add speed and reps over time. Done correctly, mountain climbers are a good cardio and ab exercise. The key is to keep your body in the plank position. Fight to keep your hips from rising (looking like Downward Dog in yoga) or sagging (looking like a lower back stretch). <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">5. Sumo Squats</p></h4> <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/sumo+squat.jpg" alt="SumoSquat"> </div> Sumo squats are great for anyone with tight hips or lower body joint pain. Begin with both feet together, weight in the heels. Like step jacks, you’ll be moving laterally. This time, take a big, exaggerated step, opening the hip and stepping to the left or right. Your knee should be at about waist height. Land in a wide stance squat like Coach Tyler demonstrates above. On the way up from your squat, bring the opposite foot up to waist height again, taking an exaggerated step back in the direction you came from. Done properly, you’ll stay in the same spot as you started. Keep your torso upright throughout each sumo squat. The ‘proud’ chest ensures your glutes are doing their job. Visualize a sumo wrestler’s first step in the ring. That high, lateral step (almost like you’re stepping over a fence) over and over again is the goal of a sumo squat. For joint safety, avoid letting your knees collapse inward during the squats. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/high+knee.jpg" alt="HighKnee"> </div> <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">6. One-Leg High Knees</p></h4> The high knee is an intermediate low-impact cardio exercise. Performed slow or fast, they will get your heart rate up quickly. To do this exercise safely, plant your foot firmly on the ground and squeeze the ground with your toes. 70 percent of your weight should be in your heels. Now, lift the opposite leg (yes, this is a great balance exercise, too) and bring it behind your body. Keeping your hands on your hips ensures your hips stay aligned and you keep your balance. Bring your foot back and lean forward. Go as far as you can without the back foot touching. From this position, bring your foot back while pushing your hips forward. Returning to a stand, bring your leg through to the front side and bring the knee up as high as it can go (waist height is a good goal). Return to a stand and repeat on the other side. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/split+squat.jpg" alt="SplitSquat"> </div> <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">7. Split Squats</p></h4> To do a split squat, use the same foot-gripping technique described in the one-leg high knee exercise. However, instead of hinging forward like with the high knee, keep your torso upright and your pelvis even. Only the back toes make contact with the ground. With weight on your front leg, drop your hips to the ground instead of leaning forward (this will take stress off your knee). Your back knee should either gently touch the ground or as close to it as you can get. Just don’t slam your knee. At the bottom of the split squat, exhale as you drive to return to the split stance. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Want More?</p></h4> At <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/">**Warrior Made**</a>, we believe that body transformations are possible with the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/">**right diet**</a> and some smart at-home workouts. You don’t need a gym, a trainer, or an expensive pair of running shoes to get a great cardio workout. These low-impact cardio exercises are perfect for anyone to try, even if you haven’t worked out in a long time. We encourage you add them to your next workout. And if you liked these exercises, check out our other <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/">**at-home exercises**</a> and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZjFDJI4B4l16uujibduMFA">**workout routines**</a>.

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