What Is Low Impact Exercise?
In a world where high-intensity workouts and extreme fitness routines often take center stage, the benefits of low impact exercise provide an alternative that still yields results. Whether you're a fitness enthusiast, an older adult, or someone recovering from an injury, low impact exercise options offer a gentler approach to physical activity that can be just as effective in promoting health and well-being.
What is low impact exercise? How’s it different? Can you combine low impact exercises with high impact ones? Today, we’re answering these questions as well as taking a look at low impact exercise equipment for staying fit and helping your body recover post workout.
What Is Low Impact Exercise & How Is It Different?
Before we dive into its benefits, what is low impact exercise?
Low impact exercises are physical activities that place minimal stress on the joints and bones, making them ideal for individuals seeking a moderate form of exercise that reduces the risk of injury. Unlike high impact exercises that involve jumping, running, or sudden movements, low impact exercises focus on maintaining at least one foot on the ground at all times. This reduces the impact on joints and bones, making these exercises more accessible to people of all fitness levels and ages.
As you explore the question, “What is low impact exercise?” it’s helpful to look at some of these defining characteristics:
- Limited joint impact: Low impact exercises involve movements that help with how to keep joints healthy and minimize strain on them. Instead, they emphasize controlled and fluid motions that reduce physical stress on areas like the knees, hips, and spine.
- Always one foot in contact: Unlike high impact exercises that might involve activities like jumping or running, low impact exercises most often keep one foot constantly in contact with the ground. This reduces the force exerted on joints during movement.
- Controlled movements: Low impact exercises often involve a slower and controlled pace. This places more focus on form, alignment, and proper muscle engagement, which can help reduce some of the risk of common sports injuries or exercise injuries.
- Supportive equipment: While some low impact exercises require little to no equipment, others might incorporate tools like resistance bands, light weights, or stability balls to enhance the workout without causing strain. Recovery equipment like zero gravity chairs are also perfect for your post workout recovery routine.
- Adaptable intensity: Low impact exercises can be adjusted to fit different fitness levels. They provide an effective workout that doesn't necessarily rely on high-intensity movements to achieve results, making it useful for people who may need adjustments as they increase mobility and flexibility.
So what is low impact exercise? These types of exercise and sports provide a workout that’s gentler on the body without sacrificing the positive results of being physically active. They are particularly beneficial for those who may have joint issues, are recovering from injuries, or are looking for a sustainable way to stay active over the long term.
Benefits of Low Impact Exercise
What is low impact exercise’s effect on the benefits to your body? The reality is they can be just as effective for supporting your physical holistic health care practices as high intensity, high impact ones.
Some of the benefits of low impact exercises include their effects on:
- Joint health: These exercises minimize stress on the joints, reducing the risk of wear and tear that can lead to pain, inflammation, and some age-related diseases like arthritis.
- Injury prevention: Low impact exercises are inherently gentler on the body, making them an excellent choice for people at higher risk for injuries or are recovering from previous injuries. They may also help with staying fit without aggravating existing conditions.
- Heart health: While low impact exercises might not involve intense jumping or running, they can still elevate your heart rate and improve heart health.
- Muscle strength: The controlled movements of low impact exercise engage muscles without excessive strain. Over time, this can lead to improved muscle endurance, strength, and toning.
- Bone density: Weight-bearing low impact exercises, such as walking and dancing, can contribute to maintaining and improving bone density. This may help them be an option as natural remedies for osteoporosis and other age-related diseases affecting bone health.
- Mental health: The benefits of low impact exercise like yoga and tai chi may help with stress reduction and improve mental health.
- Adaptability: Low impact exercises can be easily modified to accommodate various fitness levels and health conditions. They can be adjusted to fit individual needs and goals.
You might also consider the benefits of low impact exercise as complementary routines to high impact workouts. Combining low impact exercises with high impact activities can provide a balanced approach to fitness. Alternating between these two types of exercises can prevent burnout and reduce the risk of overtraining, which could lead to injury.
Types of Low Impact Exercises and Sports
What is considered low impact exercise? Now that you’ve learned more about, “What is low impact exercise?” and explored its benefits, what kinds of exercises and sports qualify for this category?
There are many types of low impact exercises and sports to choose from. Consider trying:
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Yoga or tai chi
- Elliptical training
- Dancing (such as ballroom or ballet)
You may also incorporate low impact equipment into your workout routine to help adapt your exercises.
Low Impact Exercise Equipment
Whether you're looking to optimize your workout routine or seeking relief for joint discomfort, the right tools can make a significant difference. Low impact exercise equipment can help optimize your routine as well as help with post workout recovery so your body is always in optimal condition.
What is low impact exercise equipment you may want to use? Consider the following:
- Resistance bands and weights
- Stability balls
- Elliptical machines
- Zero gravity chairs for recovery
- Fitness trackers
- Yoga mats and blocks
- Wearable join support
1. Resistance Bands and Weights
Resistance bands and lightweight dumbbells provide gentle resistance, making them ideal for low impact strength training. They help improve muscle tone and endurance without adding excess stress to your joints. These tools are versatile and can be used for a variety of exercises targeting different muscle groups.
2. Stability Balls
Stability balls offer an unstable surface, engaging your core muscles as you perform various low impact exercises. These exercises can enhance balance, stability, and flexibility while also contributing to a stronger core.
3. Elliptical Machines
Elliptical machines or trainers simulate movements similar to walking or running without the impact on joints. They offer a cardio workout that's gentle on your body, making them a popular choice for low impact cardio sessions. While you will certainly see them at any gym, they’re also popular as some of the best home gym equipment to purchase.
4. Zero Gravity Chairs
Zero gravity chairs are the perfect recovery tools to pair with your routine and make the most of the benefits of low impact exercise.
Designed to elevate the legs above the heart level, these modern recliners reduce excess pressure from the lower back and provide numerous potential health benefits like better blood circulation, faster bodily healing, and spinal decompression at home. The health benefits of the zero gravity position may also aid in alleviating back pain, keeping joints healthy, and providing relief from muscle tension.
Bonus features of zero gravity luxury recliners such as heat therapy and massage further enhance your experience, making it the perfect low impact exercise recovery tool as well as complementary to all your self care initiatives.
5. Fitness Trackers
Pedometers and fitness trackers help you monitor your daily activity levels, encouraging you to stay active and reach your fitness goals. These devices can be especially motivating for those engaging in low impact exercises like walking.
6. Yoga Mats and Blocks
For low impact exercises like yoga and Pilates, a comfortable yoga mat and blocks provide support and enhance your practice. These tools assist with proper alignment and enable you to achieve deeper stretches and poses.
7. Wearable Joint Support
In some cases, joint support accessories like knee braces or compression sleeves can ensure you’re getting all the benefits of low impact exercise without overexerting yourself. This is especially important if you have a history of joint issues or are recovering from an injury.
So, what is low impact exercise? It’s a gentle, yet effective, approach to achieving and maintaining fitness at any age. By prioritizing joint health, cardiovascular well-being, and overall strength, these exercises provide a versatile option for those trying to lead an active lifestyle without subjecting their bodies to excess physical stress. Whether you're recovering from an injury, easing into fitness, or simply looking to diversify your workout routine, low impact exercises open the door to a world of health benefits that can positively impact your quality of life.
Take a look at equipment like resistance bands or stability balls — as well as the benefits of choosing a zero gravity chair to use as a recovery tool — and you’ll be ready to get started. As always, consult your doctor before starting any new health routines to ensure it’s safe for you to do so.