Low-impact exercises are great ways to keep your muscles working while you’re pregnant, dealing with an injury, getting over a sickness or surgery or you’re just getting started on your fitness journey. Or maybe your body is starting to age and you need to take your workouts down a notch. Most everyone has fallen into one or more of these categories before, myself included. No matter your current physical state, I want to encourage you to pick one or two low-impact exercises to slowly get your body moving (again).
It’s important to get uncomfortable while working out (your body can’t change unless you get out of your comfort zone). But you can do too much too soon, so let’s cover some great ways to get in a heart-pumping workout without worrying about injury or pain.
Trainers define low-impact as any exercise where one foot stays grounded at all times. Here are my top picks:
1. Strength Training
You’ll build muscle with bodyweight and free-weight exercises like pushups, squats, bicep curls, and chest presses. The older you get, the more important it is to work on keeping your muscles strong.
Whether you’re on a stationary bike or road bike, cycling takes all the pressure off your knees, hips and back. You’ll get a heart-pumping, calorie-burning workout without stressing your joints. (I switched to cycling while pregnant.)
You’ll work your arms, back, legs, and core while seated, and definitely benefit from breaking your muscles down while getting your heart rate up.
It’s been around for hundreds of years for good reasons: the slow-moving practice stretches your muscles while working flexibility and balance. I highly recommend getting in 30-45 minutes of yoga every week; this is something everyone can and should do.
You’ll use the ballet barre for balance as you work small muscle groups with resistance bands and two-pound weights. Expect a full-body resistance-training workout as you strengthen your core, legs, and arms.
If you have access to a pool, use it! This form of exercise is the exception to the low-impact definition where “one foot is grounded” because your body composition is different in the water. Start with swimming laps, and add two laps each time.
This stress-free exercise is one you can do anywhere, anytime. It’s a non-intimidating way for beginners to get started. To get out of your comfort zone, add ankle weights, distance, or find hills to walk. You’ll be breathless in no time. Be proud of that progress!
Why do we NEED to exercise?
The non-scale benefits of exercise are undeniably important: you will feel better, have more energy, be more productive during the day, increase your metabolism and simply be friendlier.
One of the trainers at McClure Fitness said it best:
“Our bodies were made to move and the more we move, the more we WANT to move.” – Kari Sterling
There are more unfit people than fit people, which is why this particular article is so important. I want those of you who have been putting off exercising to pick one of these options and start moving your body. Your future self will thank you for taking action!