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Everything You Need to Know About Low Impact Exercise

Published February 28, 2019 (Revised: July 27, 2019)
<article> <section> <p>For some reason, people equate high-impact exercises like running, jumping, and weight machines at the gym with getting results. They believe that weight loss only happens if you really push yourself.</p> <p>It’s true that things like high-intensity intervals can help you <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">lose weight</a>. On the other hand, what’s <i>not</i> true is that you must do high-impact workouts to get your heart rate up and burn calories. In fact, you can burn tons of fat and calories doing low-impact workouts from the comfort of your living room!</p> <p>In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about low-impact exercise: the benefits, who it’s for, how to lose weight without destroying your joints, and four low-impact exercises (with challenges) you can start doing today.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What is Low-Impact Exercise?</header> <p>Low-impact exercise is any type of fitness training that alleviates stress or pressure on your joints<sup>1</sup>. Most of the time, low-impact exercise means that one foot will stay on the floor.</p> <p>Because we’re speaking generally, low-impact exercise can improve <i>all</i> areas of fitness. <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Cardio</a>, strength training, and even core muscle strength can be improved with low-impact workouts.</p> <p>This eliminates movements like jumping, running, and other forms of plyometric exercise that might put excessive stress on joints, resulting in pain or injury.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Who Is Low-Impact Exercise for?</header> <p>Low-impact workouts are good for people just getting into working out, people with pre-existing injuries (especially to joints like the knees, hips, or shoulders), pregnant mothers, or if you have a lot of weight to lose.</p> <p>Reducing stress on your joints with low-impact workouts when getting started ensures you keep momentum and don’t get injured as you chase your weight loss goals.</p> <p>Over time, and especially as you lose weight, you can progress exercises or work up to higher impact versions of workouts. <i>Any</i> physical activity will help you lose weight when you start, so don’t feel bad about wherever you start.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="knee-black-and-white-0093"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Are the Benefits of Low-Impact Exercise?</header> <p>Think of low-impact exercise as a sure thing. The biggest benefit of this type of training is that no matter who you are, what your experience is, or what you’re coming into your fitness journey with (injuries, beliefs issues that you can make exercise stick, etc.), you can exercise with little to no risk of injury.</p> <p>Low-impact exercises are modified specifically for people with joint pain or other needs so that they can still use physical activity (and a <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">good diet</a>) as a tool for weight loss.</p> <div class="sub-head">What If I Have Injuries?</div> <p>We aren’t doctors, and you should always consult your health care provider before starting any exercise or diet routine, but if you have been given the green light to start exercising, low impact is the perfect place to start! With some small modifications, you can increase your heart rate and get stronger without stressing your joints or injuring yourself further. And this activity can help you burn calories and lose weight!</p> <p>And wherever you have joint pain (say <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">your knees</a>, for example), there are modifications and exercises created specifically for your situation.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Can I Lose Weight with Low-Impact Exercise?</header> <p><i>Absolutely</i>! In fact, combined with the <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">right diet</a>, low-impact exercises are sneakily good at helping you lose weight.</p> <p>For example, <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">walking</a> has an incredible ability to burn off stored fat and help you lose weight. Actually, because you’re not huffing and puffing, your body prefers to burn off fat instead of sugar when you go for long walks.</p> <p>Just because you’re not running and jumping around doesn’t mean your low-impact workouts won’t help you lose weight―and you can still do things like interval training and full-body exercises without stressing your joints. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Are Some Good Low-Impact Exercises?</header> <p>We’ve divided up the sections below into low-impact exercises for cardio training and strength training. We’d love to add swimming to this list, but we also made sure each exercise could be done either <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">at home</a>, or in the case of walking, around the neighborhood.</p> <p>There are four total exercises, so dig in!</p> <p>These exercises will get your heart rate up without stressing your knees, hips, or shoulders. Wherever you’re at on your fitness journey, these exercises are a great place to start.</p> <div class="sub-head">Walking</div> <p>It might not seem like much, but we seriously love walking for reasons related to both health and weight loss. It’s an easy, non-stressful way to burn calories, elevate your heart rate, and move your body without worrying about getting injured.</p> <p>Our pro tip: <i>try earthing</i>. This is when you walk barefoot and reap the benefits of connecting to nature while you exercise. Here’s where you can learn more about this and why walking is one of the <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">best forms of exercise</a>.</p> <p><b>Low-Impact Workout Challenge:</b> Try walking 20 to 30 minutes a day four times in the next week.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-bearcrawl-0093"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">Burpee Walkouts</div> <p>Begin in a ‘ready’ stance with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. In a ‘ready’ stance, your weight should be in in your heels.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>Return each foot to where they started. Push through your hands again, rocking yourself back to a crouch. Stand to finish. Here’s Coach Tyler breaking down the <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">burpee walkout</a>.</p> <p><b>Low-Impact Workout Challenge:</b> Do 15 burpee walkouts as fast as possible (with good form, of course). Rest for ninety seconds, then do that two more times.</p> <p>For an added challenge, time yourself for your three sets. Next time, try and finish the forty-five burpee walkouts faster.</p> <div class="sub-head">Low-Impact Strength Training Exercises</div> <p>We’ve divided these up into a lower body and an upper body exercise.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-chair-squat-0093"></picture> <div class="sub-head">Lower Body Low-Impact Exercise: Sit to Stand</div> <p>The sit to stand is a low-impact version of the squat.</p> <p>To do it: set your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, toes pointing out at a forty-five degree angle. Always start with your body weight in the heels (not the toes). </p> <p>Push your butt back to the chair or target. Keep your belly and back tight throughout.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>Coach Tyler breaks down the sit to stand exercise in <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">this video</a>.</p> <p><b>Low-Impact Workout Challenge:</b> Do 15 sit to stands as fast as possible (with good form, of course). Rest for ninety seconds, then do that two more times.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-plank-0093"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">Upper Body Low-Impact Exercise: Push-Ups (or a Modified Version)</div> <p>Push-ups may seem intimidating if you haven’t done them in a long time (or if you have <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">weight to lose</a>), but there are plenty of ways to modify them so they stay low-impact.</p> <p>Starting at the 6:00 mark, Coach Tyler breaks down push-ups (and shows modifications) <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">in this video</a>.</p> <p><b>Low-Impact Workout Challenge:</b> Pick a modification that suits you for your push-ups. Do three sets of as many good reps as you can (perhaps <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">during a commercial break</a>), and slowly try to improve. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Warrior Made Workouts: Low-Impact and Effective</header> <p>Just because you’re taking pressure off your joints doesn’t mean you can’t get a full-body, <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">functional workout</a> using low-impact exercises. There are plenty of effective forms of physical activity you can use to burn calories from your living room (or around the neighborhood) that will keep you from getting injured or discouraged when you first start exercising.</p> <p>Give burpee walkouts, sit to stands, or push-ups a try in your living room.</p> <p>We <i>highly</i> encourage you to check out more of our <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">at-home workouts</a> and <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made’s YouTube channel</a> for more low-impact training. No gym or equipment required!</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources:</div> 1. <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> 5 Fat-Burning Exercises That Won't Kill Your Knees</a> </section> </article>

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