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Low Impact Exercise: Were your thoughts the same as mine?

By: Christina G.


Have you heard of low impact workouts? The first time I did was after my second knee surgery when the doctor said my knee was ‘like a flat tire that we were trying to get as many miles out of as we could.’ I was not even thirty and they were telling me I needed a knee replacement but insurance would not cover it. That is when the doctor told me I was not allowed to run and that I was only allowed to participate in low impact exercise. I had heard the phrase before but really had no idea what low impact workouts were. A loose definition is that it is a workout that does not require both feet to leave the ground at the same time. But let’s look at the specifics:


What is considered a low impact exercise?


-Walking

-Swimming

-Cycling

-Yoga

-Spinning

-Pilates

-Rock climbing

-Weight lifting

-Elliptical

-Rowing



What are the health benefits of low impact exercises?


1. Less Recovery Time; opposite of high impact workouts, low impact workouts require less downtime between workouts allowing for you to work out more while achieving the health benefits of regular exercise.


2. Reduced Risk of Injury; when compared to high impact workouts, low impact workouts are easier on your joints and do not lead to as many exercise related injuries.

3. Improved Stability and Balance; the slow or stationary exercises emphasize balance within the body.


4. Fosters Better Technique and Alignment; as mentioned in the previous benefit, the slow stationary exercises allow for there to be additional focus on technique and alignment within the exercises and allow for better results long term.


5. Increased Range of Motion; low impact exercise often requires full range of motion which can help with not only strength but also flexibility.


6. Endurance Gains Within Your Muscles; Slower movements and exercises ensure muscles are forced to work longer. Creating strength.


7. Good for Beginners; Low impact can feel easier and allow for a sense of confidence. It is not as hard on your body, which can allow for beginners to feel that the exercises are manageable and have more of a success rate.


8. Best for Burning Body Fat; low impact exercises burn more body fat per session. Fat burning happens at a lower heart rate.


9. Motivating; when you don’t feel like working out, low impact exercise can be completed with a walk or bike ride. As they say, something is better than nothing.


10. Stress Relieving; not only is a low impact workout less stress on your body and mind, it can actually reduce the hormone that causes stress.


After learning all this and knowing I will see the results I want to see, I was more open and excited to try low impact exercise. I honestly think that if more people knew the benefits they would pick these exercises over high impact exercises that can potentially cause more stress and harm to their body. This is by no means meant to come across as bashing high impact exercises, as they have health benefits as well. It is just meant to break the stigma (that I was guilty of having too) about low impact exercises and shed light on how beneficial they can be.


Resources:

https://www.mana.md/high-impact-and-low-impact-exercise/

https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/unexpected-benefits-of-low-impact-workouts/


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