What is low-impact cardio?
While it’s important to incorporate regular exercise into your lifestyles, a heavy physical activity can sometimes have a negative impact on your joints. If you suffer from joint discomfort or have an existing injury, then the pressure from any high impact exercise can have an adverse effect and possibly worsen symptoms. Low impact exercise is a type of exercise in which the amount of stress placed upon the joints of your knees, hips and ankles are relatively minimal. This type of exercise ensures that you can still participate in the cardiovascular exercise, without putting a high amount of weight on your joints.
Why does low-impact cardio benefit?
Running takes a serious toll on our bodies. With every step, the landing leg absorbs a force of about 2.5 times our body weight. High-impact activities such as running and plyometrics cause a lot of biomechanical stress on the legs. “Biomechanical” stress refers to the amount of pounding that our bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments endure during and activity. Low-impact exercise causes very little biomechanical stress on our bodies, since it doesn’t involve jumping and landing. In order to stay healthy, its important to incorporate some low-impact cardio exercise to your routine. Your heart and lung don’t know whether you’re running or biking. That means low-impact exercises can still improve your cardio fitness just as well as high-impact.
Who can benefit from low-impact cardio?
The elderly – As we get older we are more likely to develop health issues. Research shows that long-term exercise can slow down the process of losing our muscle mass, and therefore a 30-minute exercise routine once a day is highly recommended.
The obese – Weight can play an important part when it comes to stress on your joints. It’s not just the extra weight on the joints causing damage either, the fat is an active tissue that creates and releases chemicals that may promote inflammation.
Pregnant women – Low impact exercise is recommended for pregnant women as it can help relieve discomfort and prepare your body for labor and delivery.
Those with joint issues – keeping active is very beneficial for those suffering from joint discomfort. Certain exercises that work the muscles and tendons provide stability and strength around the joints.
Low impact cardio workout structure example
Warm-Up (5 Minutes Total; 25 Seconds Each)
- Side Step Arm Circles
- Round Down Toe Touch
- Toe Touch Sweeps
- Squatting Torso Twists
- Toe Touch Kick L
- Toe Touch Kick R
- Warrior L
- Warrior R
- Calf Raise with Overhead push-pull
- Lunging Push-Pull
- High Knee Hold with Hip Opener
- Side Step Squat
Cardio (15 Minutes Total; 3 Sets of 20 Seconds On, 10 Seconds Rest)
- Sumo Squat and Calf Raise
- Alternating Side Lunge
- Walk Downs
- Tricep Dip Kicks
- Alternating Leg Sweep Squat
- Alternating Side Leg Raise to Curtsy Lunge
- Seal Push Up
- Supine Push Up to Bridge
- Straight Leg Deadlift with Alternating Lunge Through
- Alternating Ski Squat Pivot to Sumo Squat
Core (10 Minutes, 40 Seconds; 2 Sets Each of 30 Seconds On, 10 Seconds Rest)
- Back Bow
- Side Hip Raise L
- Side Hip Raise R
- Russian Twist
- Toe Touch Get Up
- Jackknife Crunch
- Back Bow Circles
Cool Down (6 Minutes Total: 30 Seconds Each)
- Seated Toe Touch
- Butterfly Stretch
- Deep Hip Stretch
- Seated Hamstring and Torso Stretch L
- Seated Hamstring and Torso Stretch R
- Seated Torso Rotation L
- Seated Torso Rotation R
- Deep Glute Stretch L
- Deep Glute Stretch R
- Down Dog
- Shell Stretch