Updated: November 10, 2021 at 7:51 AM
Low impact exercise provides all the benefits of a more strenuous activity such as running without putting additional stress on muscles and joints.
Regular swimming and walking, for example, can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve fitness, and manage weight without straining the joints.
Check out some of the unique benefits of these low impact sports.
Walking is of course the first on the list. It’s something we do every day and it’s easy to get to because you don’t need fancy equipment. It’s absolutely free and it doesn’t even require transportation. Just put on some comfy sneakers, clothes, and possibly a rain jacket lately and get out into the fresh air.
Walking is considered a cardiovascular activity, which means that it works the heart and lungs to supply the muscles with oxygen-rich blood. Muscles need oxygen to move efficiently. Remember that a light walk will not give you these effects, so try to keep your walking at a moderate pace that allows you to increase your heart rate – you should feel short of breath.
For beginners, get some friends together and start with a few scheduled hourly walks each week. For advanced walkers, try doing a 10k walk early in the week, then a few 5k walks in between. Try to find a group that regularly walks a longer distance.
It’s a low impact exercise that I haven’t mastered yet. However, for those of you who are comfortable in the water, laps in a pool or the ocean – if you can brave the winter temperatures – provide a great workout all year round without putting too much strain on the legs. muscles or joints in particular. Water also supports your body when you swim, which means it is a no-load activity. The best part is that swimming is something that can be done over the course of your life and you won’t need to stop as you get older.
Every time you go for a swim, try something different – swim a little further, or try water aerobics or running which has the same benefits as running without impacting your joints.
There are so many varieties of cycling that it’s easy to find one to enjoy. There is indoor group cycling like spinning; there are online Peloton courses and of course outdoor cycling. Cycling is great because it is a workout that does not involve a heavy impact on the joints, nor puts too much stress on the body. Like brisk walking, biking is considered a cardiovascular activity because it benefits the heart and lungs, and it works many different muscles.
In order to get the most out of the bike, try to ride at least 1.5 to 2 hours per week. Cycling to work or riding on the weekends can help you achieve this goal. You can also join a local cycling group to help with consistency.
Exercise classes such as yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi are taken slowly and are great options for low impact sports. These activities also build on strength and flexibility as you practice.
Fitness isn’t the only benefit of yoga. Research has shown that regular yoga practice for just three months can reduce anxiety, fatigue, and stress because it lowers levels of cortisol, one of our main stress hormones.
So keep in mind that while you need to reduce your impact, you can still get in shape and release stress through some of the activities above.
Stay Consistent and B-Active For Life!
Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figures competitor with over a decade of experience. Search for B. ActiveForLife on Facebook
Peloton online courses are an option for anyone looking for a low impact exercise