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How to Make Your Workout Low Impact

Gina Harney - Blogs
By Gina HarneyCertified personal trainerOctober 2, 2018
From the WebMD Archives

Looking to decrease the joint impact in your workouts? Maybe you’re recovering from an injury. Maybe you’re pregnant. Maybe you’re a beginner and just getting started in the fitness game. (Wahoo! I’m so excited for you!) Or maybe, like me, sometimes you crave a good workout without the joint pounding. If you’re looking to enjoy group fitness classes or work out on your own without heavy impact, here are some of my tips:

Keep one foot on the floor at all times. You can do many jump-based exercises by keeping one foot on the floor at all times. For example, if you’re doing a modified burpee, walk back to plank instead of jumping back. If your favorite fitness class is doing any type of jump, do the same movement with one leg. Just make sure to alternate sides.

Experiment with height dynamics. If you are moving your body from low to high, you will still get your heart rate up without impact. One of my friends would do this awesome move where she’d start on her knees, press her arms up overhead 3-5x, and then walk her hands out to a modified plank. She’d do 3 modified push-ups, walk her hands back so she’d be back on her knees and press her arms up overhead again.

Walk instead of run. You can always add in gentle hills or power walk blitzes. Walking is one of the few exercises that I feel is good for everyone (!), so use it as a chance to listen to a podcast and enjoy some fresh air. Bonus points: walking outside will strengthen the hips and glutes unlike a treadmill because you’re using that strength to push of the ground (think of it like an ice skater). When we’re on a treadmill, we’re essentially bending at the hip joint and falling forward. Treadmill is WAY better than nothing at all, but endeavor to get outside if you can.

Try Pilates, indoor cycling, or yoga. Yoga, Pilates, and indoor cycling are all efficient workouts without a lot of joint impact. Pilates and yoga facilitate stretching and a mind-body connection, while cycling can give you the sweat and endorphins you may be craving. If you try one of these classes and don’t enjoy it, give a different one a try. The meditational aspect of yoga is something you may enjoy – it’s an excellent reminder to focus inward and remain centered.

Our bodies will often tell us the type of exercises they need; it’s just up to us to listen. If you think your body is asking you to ease up on your joints, try some of the above tips or talk to a personal trainer to create a workout plan that’s right for you.

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About the Author
Gina Harney

Gina Harney is the blogger behind the healthy lifestyle brand, The Fitnessista, which reaches millions of viewers all over the world. She’s been featured on Greatist, Forbes, Buzzfeed, Shape, Fitness Magazine, and Well + Good. She’s the author of “HIIT It!” and the voice behind the Healthy In Real Life podcast. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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