While many people believe exercising well means lifting heavy weights or running miles, there’s a lot to be said for the health benefits of Low Impact exercise. From improved heart health to stress relief, mild to moderate activity is an excellent way to stay healthy and fit without feeling like you must become a total gym rat.
If you’re curious to learn more about the health benefits of Low Impact exercise, read on.
What are Low Impact Workouts?
Low Impact exercises are fitness routines that don’t require repeated contact with a hard surface, like the ground or a machine. For example, while running is a high-impact activity (thanks to the repeated striking of your feet on the floor or treadmill), swimming is a Low Impact exercise, since it allows you to be weightless and fluid. Biking, using the elliptical, and yoga are also Low Impact workouts.
The Top 7 Health Benefits of Low Impact Exercise
Whether you’re trying to take good care of your joints or rehab from an injury, low- impact activity is a fantastic way to stay healthy and happy. Here are the top seven benefits of these activities:
Improved heart health
The top health benefit of Low Impact exercise is improved heart health. Numerous studies have found that Low Impact workouts like swimming, biking, or doing yoga can help treat, minimize, or delay the development of heart diseases and conditions.
Because of this, people who have been diagnosed with blockages or degeneration are typically instructed to begin incorporating Low Impact workouts into their weekly schedules. Of course, you should always consult with a doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you’ve received a diagnosis of a heart condition in the past.
If you’re cleared for activity, however, Low Impact workouts are a fantastic way to keep the heart healthy and strong for years to come.
Increased joint health
Improved joint health is by far one of the largest health benefits of Low Impact exercise. While high-impact workouts like plyometric or running damage joints by concussing and impacting them, Low Impact exercises can help the joints stay healthy and limber since they don’t require the joints to work excessively hard.
Because of this, healthy people who are recovering from a hip, knee, or ankle injury often use Low Impact workouts as a central part of their recovery plan. Alternately, seniors or those with weak joints use Low Impact exercises to stay healthy and fit without putting further strain on their joints.
Research has shown that Low Impact activities can be fantastic for not only keeping the joints healthy but also for helping damaged joints heal faster and more completely.
Although it might seem like anyone who wants to lose weight must do it through a rigorous and stressful exercise routine, the fact is that the health benefits of Low Impact exercise include weight loss. Each point in the body is equal to 3,500 calories. This means that someone who wants to lose a pound a week needs to eliminate at least 700 calories from his or her day. Low Impact activity can help.
For example, an average 150-lb person can typically burn around 300 calories in thirty minutes on an elliptical. This means that an individual who wanted to lose weight with Low Impact activity would need to use the elliptical for thirty minutes each day and cut an additional 400 calories from his or her day.
Stress relief is a major benefit of Low Impact activity. Physical activity boosts endorphins, which can contribute to increased feelings of relaxation and happiness. Critical for people of all ages and life stages, this increased relaxation can go a long way toward creating a happier and less stressful daily existence.
Increased energy and alertness
For people who frequently feel tired or exhausted, moderate physical activity could be the answer. Among the health benefits of Low Impact exercise is increased energy, which happens because exercise pumps oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, helping to improve the cardiovascular system and improve the health of both the heart and lungs. When these systems are functioning at maximum efficiency, a person feels more alert and capable.
Better, more restful sleep
Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Low Impact activity might be your answer. Regular exercise helps the body expend energy and, over time, can help you fall asleep rapidly and sleep deeper throughout the night. For best results, just be sure that you’re not hitting the gym within four hours of bedtime, since this can have the opposite effect.
Expanded social circles
While meeting new friends might not offer direct health benefits, it has a mental and emotional ripple effect that can help you feel healthier and happier. By getting involved in new communities and exposing yourself to new things, you keep your brain sharp and expand your social circles, which can have positive and long-lasting effects on your life.
How to Incorporate Low Impact Exercise into Your Life
Interested in claiming the health benefits of Low Impact exercise in your life? Follow these simple health tips:
As with any form of activity or exercise, you want to start slow. This is true for a few reasons. For one, starting slowly decreases the likelihood that you’re going to burn out on your new activity. After all, it’s easier to commit to 20 minutes each day on the elliptical than it is swimming 150 laps.
Secondly, starting slow and working your way up helps prevent injuries and keep your body in good shape. When you give your muscles and joints time to adjust, you create healthy, sustainable habits that can last a lifetime.
Find an activity you like
Going to the gym and forcing yourself to do something you hate isn’t any fun, nor is it good for mental and emotional health. Take the time to find an activity you like. If swimming isn’t your thing, try the elliptical or take a Tai Chi class. When you find something you like, stick with it. It’s easier to form healthy habits when you’re not forcing yourself through them.
Consult with your doctor
If you have previous injuries, conditions, or diagnoses that could affect your ability to undertake physical activity, be sure to consult with your physician before you begin your new program. Sometimes, an activity isn’t a good fit for people with certain health pasts, so it’s critical to double-check with your medical professional before you begin.
Make it a group effort
If you have family and friends who are interested in boosting their health and wellness, invite them to enjoy the health benefits of Low Impact exercise with you! In addition to holding one another accountable, working out with friends allows you to make your daily activities fun and social, as well!
The Health Benefits of Low Impact Exercise, Made Simple
Getting fit doesn’t have to mean setting world weightlifting records! When you commit to a regular, Low Impact activity, you’ll be able to boost your health, enjoy a slimmer body, and improve your mental and emotional well-being all at once. Good for the body, gentle on the joints, and more approachable than high-intensity, high-impact activity, Low Impact workouts are the ideal fit for people at all stages of life!