In a world where high-intensity training like boxing, HIIT, and Tabata classes get so much of the attention—low impact workouts are an often underrated goldmine with just as many health benefits (plus, your joints will thank you for the break!).
Low-impact workouts are critical for rounding out a holistic wellness routine. Whether you’re looking to keep active on your days off the running trail, maintain momentum toward your marathon goal, or you simply want something more gentle on your body that doesn’t involve burpees—here’s why low-impact cardio is an integral part of any workout regimen:
Low Impact Doesn’t Equal Low Intensity
A power yoga class can make you sweat just as much as a four-mile run—the main difference is that they are a little less taxing on your bones and joints. Yoga, rowing, swimming, trampolining, cycling, and brisk walking all get your heart rate up, contribute to your overall wellness, and become a more than decent sweat session!
Less Impact, Fewer Injuries
When done safely, high-intensity workouts can be extremely effective. But the fact is, low impact workouts generally put less stress on your joints and muscles, while simultaneously allowing you to get a great workout in. For example, if you simply swap your training run for a spin class you’re still getting your cardio workout it, but with less impact on your body.
Goodbye, Workout Plateau
If you’ve ever noticed your marathon training or weightlifting workouts plateau, it could be that you need to alternate between strength training one day, and a gentle walk the next. This keeps your muscle memory on its toes, avoids the dreaded plateau, and increases your likelihood of gaining (instead of losing) fitness.
Inspires Greater Flexibility & Mobility
Use your low-impact workout days as an opportunity to weave in stretching (yes, it counts as a workout!). In fact, working in some tension-busting yoga, stretching, or any other kind of mobility work is one of the best ways to improve your range of motion and set yourself up for success when your high impact workout day arrives.
Brings Balance & Avoids Burnout
Changing things up for your body ultimately makes your harder-core workouts more effective since low-impact activity breaks up the training at a certain tipping point and brings your body back down to its normal level of operation. Why this is helpful is so that when you return to high-intensity training you’re not burned out.
So before you sink into the sofa from high-intensity workout exhaustion, consider low-impact a natural part of your workout rituals: whether it’s taking a walk, going for a swim, take the bike out, or find your zen at yoga or pilates. Your body will appreciate the break, your mind will rebalance and relax, and your training goals will thank you.