Low-Impact Exercise Ideas

Low-Impact Exercise Ideas

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Low-impact workouts are gentler on the lower body joints.

Low-impact exercise refers to activities that produce a cardio workout while also placing minimal stress on the lower body joints. This type of exercise can allow you to engage in challenging workouts while preventing injuries that can come from overuse or higher impact activities. Low impact does not imply low intensity. These workouts can be just as challenging and produce a similar calorie burn as the higher impact exercises.


Walking is a low-impact exercise that is both simple and effective for raising the heart rate and burning calories. It doesn't require any equipment or cost other than a good pair of comfortable walking shoes. A daily walking program can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, improve your endurance and improve bone density. Also, walking transcends fitness levels. Beginners can take part, but it can also be beneficial to advanced participants. Always perform a light warmup before your walk and light stretching afterward.

Step Aerobics

Step training is a form of aerobics that involves the use of a platform or step. The step can be used alone or with risers to increase the intensity and difficulty of the workout. This low-impact workout can torch calories and strengthen the lower body without producing a higher impact than walking. However, step aerobics does involve choreography and routines that you learn by taking a group fitness class or instructional video. Classes can range from beginner to advanced, depending on the choreography and step height. You should choose a height where the knee is never required to bend past 90 degrees.


Spinning refers to group indoor cycling classes in which the instructor provides music and visual imagery that are a part of a virtual ride or race. This challenging class can provide you a nearly no-impact workout that torches hundreds of calories a session. Class times range from 45 to 60 minutes and include intervals of higher intensity by using an increase in RPM speed and pedal resistance. These higher intensity portions of the workout coincide with the music and imagery to mimic the hills, straightaways and valleys of your journey. Be sure to adjust your bike seat to a comfortable height before beginning your spinning session.

Low-Impact Cardio Machines

Low-impact cardio machines such as ellipticals and stair climbers can also provide you with tough workouts while preventing stress on the joints. The elliptical can be an effective alternative to walking or running. Many models offer arm poles that can engage the upper body as well. Ellipticals with pedals that move both forward and backward can provide a complete workout for your entire lower body. Stair climbers can provide a calorie-torching workout as well as resistance for the lower body muscles. Whether you choose a pedal-based model or a StepMill version, you can burn hundreds of calories while placing very little stress on the joints. Posture is key to the effectiveness of stair climbers. You must resist leaning against the hand rails during your workout to experience the full effectiveness of the machine.

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