Low, slow and steady wins the race — and can even evoke super sweaty workouts to boot! When we place stress on bones and joints in high-impact exercises, sometimes the trauma can be irreversible. The good news? Aggressive workouts don’t have to equate to harmful workouts.
Low-impact workouts can actually be one of the most powerful and efficient forms of exercise with lots of high-intensity! There are plenty of fitness methods and pieces of equipment that are skeletal-friendly. Gentle movements actually help support our joints — and protecting our joints by minimizing movements that aggravate muscular structure helps prevent arthritis and injuries.
Below are 5 of our favorite low-impact + high-intensity workouts right now.
1. Swimming + Paddleboarding
Exercising in the water is one of gentlest workouts you can do. Swimming aerobics is an easy recovery method if you are coming off an injury. Why not add some strength training on the surfboard while you are enjoying the waves? There is no getting around the fact that SUP (stand up paddle) requires core stamina and flexibility. The balance alone it takes to get up and stay up is a workout in itself. Then, there is the continuous arm and back burn from navigating the paddling. It is truly a full body burn.
2. The Elliptical Machine
Want to get toned runners stems without the risk of knee pain? You can have both. Some machines have the attached arm levers that you can pull and press for back, triceps, shoulders, and biceps. Try intervals by moving all out for a minute and slowing down for thirty seconds. Play around with different levels to increase intensity to mimic hills. Or, grab a set of 2 lb dumbbells or weighted wrist bands to bump up your heart rate.
3. Tai Chi
This moving meditative form of exercise is a low-impact as it gets. It is so precise and slow that it makes for an excellent practice for patience. Thoughtful breathing combines with full body flowing limb extensions. This is not a workout for spiking your heart rate. However, it is a lovely alternative to a stretch class. You may find many of these classes in the park or beach where soothing sounds of waves and birds replace loud EDM you may hear in your favorite spin class. Winding down both mind and soul is a nice way to balance out your fitness routine.
4. Rollerblading + Rollerskating
Wanna work on your glutes and quads in a new fun way? Fetch your blades and get to rolling. If you are someone who likes the zen of running and tuning out for a long jog, skating is a great alternative. It’s much gentler on your hip joints, and the side to side glide (with the proper form of course), will improve knee and adductor strength.
You do not need to be a Cirque du Soleil star to join in the bendy fun. Improved mobility, mood, and strength are to be gained with a rigorous yoga routine. Some burn more calories than others but don’t be fooled by the tame music and calming instruction by your teacher. Breathing technique similar to Pilates allows for a mind-body connection that deepens your level of awareness, creating an intensity that makes this one of the best wellness disciplines.