Low Impact Workouts That Work
The push for regular exercise or physical activity is increasing more and more in the wake of our country’s obesity epidemic. The belief that a person needs to do strenuous workouts that will burn mega calories in the shortest time frame has become unappealing to those that are older or those who have health conditions. People with health conditions, special needs, or musculoskeletal injuries (i.e. Coronary Artery Disease, Diabetes, Arthritis, Asthma, Lower back pain) may still engage in exercise activities with a physician’s approval and specific exercise modifications. These exercise programs can be very effective if done correctly and within the guidelines listed below.
- Follow a low- or non-impact exercise program that progresses gradually.
- If your doctor clears you to do cardio or endurance training, stick to things like walking, stationary cycling, and swimming.
- If cardio or endurance training is not recommended, try weight training but instead of heavy lifting use circuit training and keep the resistance low and the repetitions high.
- Complete longer and more gradual warm-ups and cool downs.
- Keep the durations of your workout short. Start out with whatever feels comfortable (5-10 minutes) and increase to about 20-40 minutes.
- Take more frequent breaks.
Here are a few exercises that you can start with to maintain muscle mass and improve heart health while burning calories:
- Walking – Great for all fitness levels.
- Rowing - Works your entire body and is low impact.
- Swimming (or other exercise in the pool) - Water reduces impact by up to 50% of your body weight if you're in waist-deep water, which may make exercise more comfortable. You can use water weights to increase strength in the pool.
- Weight training using your body's weight – You don’t need equipment to tone up. You can use your own body weight as resistance. Try extending your arms and clapping above your head until you feel the burn. This is an example of strength training with no weights.
- Weight training with light dumbbells - Start off with small 2-5 pound dumbbells and increase over time.
A mini circuit that you might want to try is 5-10 minutes of the stationary bike, 5-10 minutes of walking, 5-10 minutes of rowing with 1 minute of your favorite strength training move in between. You can increase or decrease the time frame of each depending on your starting level. Over time, you can improve your strength and endurance.
I also love this low impact workout on about.com: Total Body Strength.
For more low impact workouts visit my website at www.keepitmovingfitness.com or keep coming back here to my Calorie Count blog every other Sunday. Also, tweet me to let me know how you do @kim_fitness. I love hearing from you.