Improve Fitness with Low Impact Cardio Exercises

Improve Fitness with Low Impact Cardio Exercises

Steve Auger headshotPosted by  Steve Auger, guest blogger

With a new year approaching, one of the goals people always set focuses on health. No matter what your endgame, this goal can be pursued in a variety of ways. Some folks join a gym, while others develop clean eating habits. Still, most people’s health improvement plans involve some sort of exercise, whether it’s a cardio machine, weight-lifting, hiring a personal trainer, or taking up a form of yoga.

If your strategy involves sweating your way to a new you, plan on incorporating low impact cardio into your regimen. Working out makes you feel like a million bucks, but certain exercises can be very taxing on the body. Here are some low impact exercises that will help you achieve your objectives without stressing the body.

Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling bikes

Indoor cycling increases your cardiovascular threshold, relieves stress, torches calories, and puts low strain on your joints.

Who didn’t enjoy bike-riding as a kid? There’s no reason you can’t recapture that love as an adult. Many gyms and fitness centers offer studio classes on stationary bikes for those who have big goals on the mind. Indoor cycling provides an array of benefits: It increases your cardiovascular threshold, relieves stress, torches calories, and puts low strain on your joints. Knees, ankles, and hips suffer minimal impact during a cycling workout, and doing it indoors also keeps you from having to breathe the abrasive cold air all winter. Gym equipment can vary from place to place, so the key is to make sure the bike seat and handle bars are set at the correct levels per your height. Your class instructor can assist you with this. Pick up a pair of cycling shoes, as well. The proper footwear helps to maintain your form and pedal stroke.

Swimming

Not all great workouts occur on dry land. Swimming is a fantastic all-around activity. Much like indoor cycling, swimming is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness and burn major calories, but through different muscle groups. It also offers a plethora of other benefits. Swimming is an activity you can do at any age, and families can do it together. Who didn’t take family beach outings as a kid? Because the body doesn’t hit the ground, swimming is another example of a low-impact cardio exercise.

Barre

Barre is a newer form of exercise that has been popping up everywhere lately. Pronounced “bar,” this modern activity is derived from the bar that many dancers (including ballet dancers) use as part of their conditioning routines. A typical barre class is 45–60 minutes of high-intensity, choreographed movements that focus on arms, legs, seat, and abdomen. Barre routines employ components of pilates, yoga, and dance to shape your muscles, but with minimal stress on each one.

Running

Running has always been a popular cardiovascular exercise, loved by scads of people to lose weight and get those endorphins flowing. But it can wreak havoc on your knees if you run with bad form. Overstriding, for example, can cause you to strike your heels, which stresses out your shins. This pressure can then travel up your legs to your knees. Also, don’t let your feet splay outward. This results in the over-pronation that torques your legs inward. Pay attention to your form for lower impact on your joints, and a better overall workout!

Exercising is a must to improve your physical and mental health. Just be sure to incorporate low impact cardio drills as part of your routine. Your body will thank you.

Which activity are you most enticed by?

Image source: Flickr