If you want to get your heart pumping but don’t want to pound away at your joints, or if you have joint problems and want to exercise, you need something low-impact. Low impact exercise can be both aerobic and anaerobic, ie, they can be a cardio training and strength training workout. Here are six low impact workouts for you to try.
Walking is the best low-impact activity there is. It’s as much a part of our nature as breathing and sleeping. The worst part about walking is that we do it so little. Walking is an essential part of the human condition. It is one of the milestones of human development across the world. Denying it would be a terrible waste. An do you know the best part about walking? You can just go for a walk. Technically, you shouldn’t even need to put on shoes. You just need to go. Go outside right now and go in any direction. This article’s not going anywhere. It’ll be here when you get back. I promise.
If you just came back from your walk, I applaud your desire to be active. If you didn’t, then I applaud your desire to finish what you started. So let’s talk about other things we can do besides walk.
Yoga is always derided as some hoity-toity hippie nonsense. That view is nonsense. Practicing yoga allows you to enter a state of meditation, but it also does more than that. Yoga, by necessity, is slow. But that means you need lots of muscle control. The majority of positions require not only control of your large muscle groups, but your small muscle groups too. Have you seen the bundles of muscles in your back? There are muscles on top of muscles on top of other muscles. A full yoga sessions activates all of them, giving you a full-body workout (for the record, I’m a fan of full-body training instead of isolated strength training. My exception is if you want to be a body-builder, and that’s totally different).
Swimming is, and has been, my sport of choice for years. Like Yoga, it activates and uses almost all of the body’s muscles groups in order to get you moving through the water. It can also be a mind-freeing exercise because of all the breath training you’ll learn. One of swimming’s benefits is the only way you’re impacting your joints is if you decide to swim head first into a wall. Like yoga, posture does matter. In swimming it’s known as technique, but the objective is the same. Technique in swimming is the optimal position of your body to maximize your ability to move through the water without hyper-extending any joint or muscle group. If you’ve never swum competitively before, I would recommend getting a yogi, err, coach, to show you the ropes.
Believe it or not, rock climbing is pretty low impact. Because climbing is methodical and thought-intensive, you take your time making an ascent. You use muscles in almost all the parts of your body, but the strain on your joints is lessened because you’re not pounding into rock face. To start your training, it’s probably best to do at least one indoor rock-climbing session. It’s a controlled environment, and there is an abundance of staff and crashpads to aid you. Sun is good for people too, so doing it outdoors is just as good. You can view our tips for rock climbing here, and if you’re interested, we’re offering a few deals for indoor rock climbing facilities from New York to Cali.
Barre work is something that’s cropped up in the last few years but should definitely be considered. Utilizing a dance barre as the main focal point of exercise, it lends strength and stability to many workout positions where you may not normally have them. This tool allows for flexibility training as well as exercising certain body parts and muscle groups that you normally wouldn’t be able to access. If you live in the LA area, we’re offering a deal to barre classes in Beverly Hills. If you don’t live there, don’t be disheartened. There are more showing up across the U.S.
Assuming you’re not carrying an 80 pound backpack through mountainous terrain for a two week patrol in enemy controlled lands, then your hike will be like a power stroll through the park. Start gradually and take your time. You’re in no rush. The exercise in a hike is about the regularity of pace, not the quickness of the ascent. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re exploring the great outdoors, even if you can still see the city (Don’t think I’m not on to your tricks Runyon Canyon). It’s also a good idea to go in a group, even if it’s just with one other person. Make sure you take an appropriate amount of water and some food in containers. The best time to go is mid-morning. The sun isn’t at its full power yet, and it’s generally not too hot yet.
There are places from Juneau to Miami for you to engage in a low impact sport. But don’t forget to make an impact by leading a comment in the Comments Section below, or liking us on Facebook.
Now go have a good workout!