Low-impacts sports can be a great way of exercising. You may have been recommended it by your doctor or other medical professional, or maybe you just want to try out some other sports that you don’t normally take part in to get a more complete workout.? Well, here we’ll explore what low-impact activity is, and what sports you can experiment with when you next have an exercise session.
What is a low-impact activity?
This is when the movements you make involve a less direct force on the body compared to high-impact activities. These can be a great alternative to exercise for those with joint damage or are recovering from an injury. It might also be that you can’t carry out high-impact exercises at all. Those circumstances might include:
- having chronic problems such as arthritis, osteoporosis or stress fractures
- Being a beginner to regular workouts
There are low-impact activities that you can take part in to increase your heart rate, although you may have to work harder than you would compared to doing an intense workout. There are plenty of these sports and activities you can try, though, so you can see which ones may be the best options for you.
Walking and hiking
This is a fantastic low-impact activity to have a go at – and, because we walk every day, we’re already very good at it. If you’re looking to get a good workout and increase your heart rate while walking, then you can try to:
- Walk faster to increase the intensity of your workout
- Try interval training by including short bursts of speed or a steep hill to your route or workout (you can try these programs on a treadmill in your gym too)
- Use your arms or walking poles when outside
- Take the stairs or try the step mill at your gym
You can up your challenge by going for a hike – the terrain changes give your lower body a good workout, including the glutes, hips and thighs. Adding a backpack can also help you to burn more calories.
There are few sports that are as good as swimming to give you an all-over low-impact workout. Being in the water helps out your body in two different ways: not only do you reduce stress on your joints and ligaments because of the buoyancy, but the water gives you some resistance to work against. Your body is also cooled by the water, so you feel more comfortable because you shouldn’t overheat. A Harvard study showed that people use four times more energy when swimming compared to runners over the same distance.
You can easily change the intensity of a cycling workout – it’s entirely up to you to decide how gentle or intense your ride will be. Although your joints won’t get a pounding, you’ll still manage to get great cardiovascular benefits from pedalling on two wheels, and you build up your glutes, quads and calf muscles.
You don’t have to fork out a lot on a bike to get started on the road, either. Once you’ve got a bicycle and safety gear, you can join a local group and cycle with other people, or even have a go at racing if you’re feeling competitive.
Playing golf will help you maintain your body in a number of ways. Not only will it aid with blood flow, but it also increase heart muscles, reduces stress, boost your concentration, and gives you a chance to socialize and speak with other people out on the greens. Golf is a good way to get walking when going between the holes, and you get to give muscles in your upper and lower body a workout as well. You may be offered a golf cart for your clubs – such as these from PXG – but deciding to take yours with you without the buggy will mean you’ll gain the most benefits from getting out for a round.
There’s a great variety of styles to practice when looking into yoga, which helps to promote flexibility and reduce joint pain with the movements and postures used. It can also have a positive effect on anxiety, balance, blood pressure and stability.
There is a great range of other exercises that you can try out if you’re looking for a low-impact approach to exercise. Yet no matter which activities you choose, either as a beginner or if you’re just looking for alternatives to your regular routine, you’ll have a fun time finding out and getting involved.