Katy Blevins

| 07/20/2016

6 Low Impact Exercise Options to Try

6 Low Impact Exercise Options to Try

Getting (and keeping!) the body moving is a top priority for long-term health and wellness. While high impact activities like running, skiing, football and tennis may not be an option for every person or body type, there are usually a variety of low impact solutions that can provide many of the same health benefits while minimizing the strain on the body. Let’s start by taking a look at what qualifies as low impact and why it may be a good choice for you!

Low impact exercise refers to those activities that are a bit “easier” on the body, most notably putting less stress and direct force on the joints. Because low impact exercise does not have the extra muscle strain found in many high impact, high intensity workout regimens, the risk of injury is significantly lessened. Low impact exercise is a great choice for any and everyone, often for different reasons.

Athletic Crowd: For those engaged in constant high impact performance, low impact workouts allow the body a crucial opportunity to rest, even while working.

Injured Population: For those who have suffered an injury or joint damage, low impact exercise offers the benefits of staying active and healthy without aggravating an old injury, or worse yet, causing a new injury to make itself known.

Aging Community: Bone density decreases as the body ages, increasing the risk of injury, especially where added strain is placed on the joints. Decreased stamina can also contribute to a shift away from higher intensity, high impact workouts towards low impact options that allow you to stay active without inducing exhaustion, inflammation or worse, injury.

6 Low Impact Exercise Options to Try


Yoga is one of the more popular low impact workouts that come to mind for many people seeking alternatives to high intensity classes. Focused on improving the body’s flexibility, muscle strength and tone, yoga allows the participant to go at their own pace and set their own physical limits. Yoga also improves respiration and peace of mind while restoring energy and vitality, making it a powerful low impact option that hosts benefits for both the body and the mind. Lastly, the fundamental focus on developing core strength improves overall bodily function and ability to manage strain and force, reducing the risk of exercise and movement-related injuries.


Pilates uses small, precise, and controlled movements to strengthen the core (the area between the shoulders and pelvis) and build long, lean muscle. All movements are low-impact and emphasize proper breathing as much as correct form.The method includes specific exercises that can be performed on their own and in conjunction with specially designed apparatus. The most popular used today are the reformer, cadillac, wunda chair, barrel, and spine corrector. Despite their somewhat intimidating names, they support and strengthen the body so you can perform mat work exercises as daily maintenance.


Getting in the water is one, if not the, best low impact options available. The buoyancy of the water removes all stress and strain on the muscles and joints, allowing swimmers to get their heart rate up, build endurance and develop muscle strength without overwhelming the body. Swimming helps to maintain a healthy heart and lungs, giving the body a safe way to stay active and strong.

Not a fan of swimming laps? That’s ok! There are a variety of water-based exercise programs, including water aerobics, water dance classes, simple exercise regimens and more that give focus, purpose and creativity to your time in the water. Have fun!


Elliptical machines are designed to allow the body to work hard by following more fluid patterns of motion that deliver the same benefits of running on a treadmill or outdoors without the strain and stress on the joints and muscles. Similarly, cycling allows athletes to increase heart rates without the pounding impact that comes with many high intensity workouts. Burn calories and get a complete body workout in 30 minutes or less!

Whether on a kayak or machine, rowing delivers a powerful complete body workout, strengthening the core without increasing the risk of injury. In just 60 minutes of kayaking or rowing, you can burn over 400 calories!


It’s time to hit the dance floor! Dancing can get your heart rate up while allowing you to move in a way that feels natural for your body. You don’t have to take an official class, follow a routine of steps or be the world’s best dancer to put on some music and move your body. Burn calories and have fun doing it!

Walking is a great daily exercises that improves circulation, prevents the loss of bone mass and also lightens the mood. Getting your steps in outdoors is a great way to boost your emotional state and keep the body active.


Another meditative practice that focuses on fluid motion, Tai Chi can banish headaches and improve flexibility while also restoring peace of mind, focused breath and meditative movement. Many fitness centers are beginning to introduce low impact classes that are a combination of tai chi, yoga and pilates, offering a complete body workout, a return to being fully present and in the moment, and a safer alternative for those who are not able to handle the high intensity options.

What are some of your favorite types of Low Impact Exercise? If you have a fitness instructor or personal trainer that you recommend please share it with us below!

About the Author

Katy Blevins is a guest writer for Wellness Hub. Wellness Hub is the leading holistic health information source in the United State.

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