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When the word ‘exercise’ is mentioned, most people think of hard work such as lifting weights, running long distances, doing intense movements, and the like. While high-impact exercises are a great form of exercise, not all of them suit everyone. Fret not for high-impact exercises aren’t the only way to work up a sweat.
Low-impact workouts allow you to exercise in a way that’s easier on the body and generally doesn’t require special equipment. If you’re on the fence about trying a low-impact exercise, here are some pleasantly surprising advantages that may make you add it to your routine.
What Are Low-Impact Exercises?
Low-impact workouts are a form of exercise that won’t put a lot of strain and weight on your muscles and joints. Examples of low-impact exercises include swimming, yoga, pilates, cycling, rowing, badminton, and more. All of these exercises avoid putting significant force through your joints, making them more gentle on the body.
Surprising Benefits of Low-Impact Workouts
Any movement that is gentle on the joints or can be performed in a fluid motion is considered low-impact. Even if low-impact workouts aren’t as physically demanding as high-intensity exercises, they offer a lot of health benefits and may even be better in some cases. We’ve listed out the unexpected advantages of incorporating low-impact workouts into your routine, check them out!
Reduces Risk of Injury
With any type of physical workout, it’s important to have proper form and techniques. Low-impact exercises put less stress on your joints and muscles. For example, swimming is often suggested to individuals who have experienced an injury as it allows them to rehabilitate and rebuild their strength. If you’re someone who doesn’t have great mobility, doing a low-impact workout allows you to stay active and fit while minimizing your injury risk.
Low-impact workouts aid in improving flexibility and reducing stiffness and muscle pulls. You’re more likely to use your full range of motion doing low-impact workouts as opposed to high-impact workouts. Exercises such as yoga, pilates, and swimming help keep your full range of motion at optimal length, reducing muscle imbalances.
Some people think that high-impact exercises are much better at burning calories. Not many realize that low-impact workouts can be just as efficient in helping you lose unwanted pounds. In fact, according to experts, low-impact exercises can burn more body fat per session. This is because fat burning occurs at a lower intensity.
Each individual has a heart zone tailored for them. Staying below your heart zone means that you aren’t maximizing fat burn but going way above the zone means you’re only burning the food in your stomach and not reducing body fat. Situating yourself in the optimal zone means that the intensity level is low to moderate, which is what low-impact workouts deliver.
Increased Stability and Balance
When doing high-impact workouts or dynamic movements, you are moving rapidly that your body does not have the time to stabilize. You’re also more concerned with how to perform a particular move than the mechanics of your joints and limbs. Low-impact workouts emphasize slow, stationary, or single-leg activities which allow individuals to take more time in a movement and establish balance in the body.
Fosters Better Technique and Alignment
As low-impact workouts tend to be executed at a slower pace, it gives you time to enhance the mind-muscle connection of your body. This leads to having better workout results in the long-term as it reduces the likelihood of your developing poor muscle patterns over time.
When your technique and alignment are poor, it can cause additional strain on your joints and connective tissue. By doing low-impact exercises, you improve the efficiency of the mind-muscle connections, ensuring that the right muscles are working during workouts and getting you the results you need.
Great for Almost Everyone
One of the greatest benefits of low-impact workouts is that they can be done by virtually everyone. Some people can’t do high-impact workouts, and that’s okay. Low-impact exercises can feel ‘easier’ in a way, allowing you to continue to stay on track with a fitness routine, especially for people who need to be gentler on their bodies due to health issues. Even if you don’t have a chronic health condition, low-impact exercises can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
Let’s be real, we all have our days where we’d rather roll in bed or stay on the couch instead of working out. It’s a good thing that low-impact exercises exist as they’re perfect for days when you don’t feel like doing intense movements. Stepping outside for a walk around a couple of blocks is already a low-impact exercise and it’s definitely something better than nothing. Who knows, you might even end up walking a mile long and not regret it.
Not only do low-impact exercises improve your physical health but also help enhance your mental health. If you’re already extremely stressed, high-impact exercises may raise your stress hormone levels. On the other hand, the slower pace of low-impact exercises allows you to focus and thereby reduce your stress levels. You’ll also find that you’ll be more energized, refreshed, have a better mood, and so much more.
The gentle nature of low-impact exercises makes it generally safer and carries less risk of injury. Even if you aren’t drenched in sweat, low-impact workouts are incredibly beneficial to overall health and wellness.
Whether you’re a fitness beginner, someone who’s recovering from an injury or illness, someone who has a chronic illness, a senior, or someone who needs active rest days between high-intensity workouts, low-impact exercises are an excellent way to get your body moving without putting too much stress on your joints.