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keeping in shape | LOW IMPACT EXERCISE

low impact, full body workouts:

With many choices for low impact activity, it shouldn’t be too diffi cult to fi nd a workout that suits your personality, is easy on your body and still works your heart and major muscle groups.


joints—are perfect for individuals who are: • pregnant • have injured joints, bones, or connective tissue injuries

• have chronic problems such as arthritis, osteoporosis, or stress fractures

• are overweight • are new to exercise

Effective low impact cardiovascular exercise should allow the heart rate of the participant to reach a level greater than 50 percent of its maximum. Low impact cardiovascular exercises generally have low physical risk and are effective for general fi tness.

To f ind low impact act ivit ies, look for anything that involves intense stretching and strengthening components. According to The National Institutes of Health,, walking and swimming are both perfect examples. For most people, walking is a low impact exercise that may be performed at a slow pace or with an intense whole body motion, at speeds in excess of 5 mph; typical conventional walking is done at approximately 2.5-3 mph. This faster type is referred to as power walking. Swimming is a good example of an activity that is generally low impact on the entire body and yet can also be as intense as the swimmer makes it.

Yoga, Pilates, calisthenics and aerobics routines with no jumping are also low impact activities that you should be able to do while still getting a good cardiovascular workout. Cycling at a medium pace is also considered a low impact activity. Stresses created by cycling come from hard sprints or hill climbing, so with this type of cycling, the rider should remain in the seat for the entire activity. Mountain biking will also result in increased impact on the joints, due to the rougher riding surface.

30 issue 1, 2014 midwest health+wellness

Yoga can improve both your physical fi tness and your overall wellbeing. Regular yoga practice puts your body through a series of postures and breathing exercises, which help to develop strength, balance and fl exibility. It also lifts your mood.

water aerobics

tai chi

This ancient Chinese art promotes mental and physical wellbeing. Movements are slow and controlled, so you won’t improve your cardiovascular fi tness or get a calorie-burning workout, but you will improve your strength, fl exibility and balance.

This is a low impact activity, but it requires basic swimming ability as it’s mostly done in water waist- high or deeper. Water workouts use a variety of techniques taken from studio aerobics, including walking or running backwards and forwards, jumping jacks, various arm movements and more.

rowing machines


This activity focuses on rebalancing the body and improving posture through slow, controlled movements and exercises.

Rowing offers a full body workout that is low impact and effective. It’s a great aerobic alternative to cycling and running, boosting the cardiovascular system and working the abdomen, back and upper body. You can also use a rowing machine to warm-up for other activities.

low impact // HIGH BENEFIT

OLD SCHOOL: Shin splints, ankle problems, knee pain and lower-back problems are prevalent with those who choose to run or jog. If you want to run, you’ve got to be willing to pay the price of chronic structural damage.

NEW THOUGHTS: Low impact favorites such as swimming, cycling, elliptical machines and rebounding (indoor mini trampoline) make it possible to get in shape and stay in shape at any age, free from the joint pain associated with high impact exercise methods.

Other options for


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