Many associate low impact with low intensity, but this is far from the truth when it comes to exercise. Many low-impact sports can get your heart rate up and have you sweating just as much as the high-impact ones. They can also provide plenty of benefits to your health and your physique, such as helping you tone up and become fitter. For people with joints more susceptible to injury, low-impact sports are a must-try.
What are Low Impact Sports?
Low-impact sports are sports that cause minimal wear or trauma to weight-bearing joints, such as your knees, ankles, and hips. This is very beneficial to people with joints that are more susceptible to injury than the regular person. They are also very popular among people who have sustained injuries in their joints before and want to play it safe because of medical concerns.
5 Low-Impact Sports You Can Try
Any sport without jumping or running can be classed as a low-impact sport. If you want to get started, you can look at the list below and decide which one is best for you, and how you can participate.
Low-Impact yet Fun: Swimming
Many of us have taken swimming classes as a child, either at school or as an extracurricular. While it is a calm and relaxing way to exercise, it is also an effective activity to keep you fit and healthy. Common swimming styles include the freestyle, the backstroke, and the breaststroke. As you wade through the water, you are working out your entire body, and you can build stamina and endurance by doing laps.
Swimming is a great way to cool down and keep fit in the warmer months. In the colder months, there is also the option of a heated swimming pool located indoors. Many people like to go for a swim before work to wake themselves up and get ready for a full day ahead, but a relaxing night swim can also take the stress off after a long day.
A Bit Demanding, But Super Effective: Cycling
Cycling is another great exercise that can connect you with the great outdoors and get your heart rate up. It is also an easy way to fit some exercise into your daily routine. Cycling can take place almost anywhere – outdoors on the streets, in nature, and even in a gym, on a machine. You can cycle to and from work, and you can go alone or with your family and friends.
Research has shown that cycling can help improve your cholesterol levels, which in turn can lower your chances of having a stroke or a heart attack. You can also build muscle in your legs, arms, and core. There are lots of great local communities for cyclists to bond over their love and enthusiasm for the sport.
Fun Low Impact Sport: Rowing
Rowing can be a great workout for your arms and upper body. As you paddle your way through the water, you can strengthen your biceps, back, triceps, and core without exerting too much pressure on your joints. You can row by yourself or as a team with a few friends, and you can do it outdoors on a lake or indoors on a rowing machine. This offers great flexibility, and you can have alternatives when the weather isn’t great, or you would rather work out alone.
Relaxing Low-Impact Sport: Yoga
Yoga as exercise is a great way to feel more connected with your body. It contains a series of positions that require different levels of strength, flexibility, and balance for you to hold. As yoga is an exercise that focuses on stillness, many also find pleasure in the silence and find opportunities to meditate.
You can take yoga classes to learn about proper techniques and positions. You can also buy a yoga mat and start practicing at home. When you first start out, you will find it difficult to do certain positions, but that is normal. You should not push yourself too much, or you risk hurting yourself. After a few months, you are likely to be able to feel a huge difference in how you relate to your body. You may even notice that some of your old ailments – such as back pain and arthritis – have improved.
Awesome Sport for Stretching: Pilates
Pilates is another low-impact workout that can help you tone your body and help, also, be more in tune with your physicality. Pilates incorporates minuscule movements that are done repeatedly to achieve muscle tone and strength. It also requires a certain amount of flexibility and balance.
Some popular Pilates exercises include chest lifts, roll-ups, leg stretches, spine twists, leg circles, toe taps, and leg lifts. These movements are often done in sets, and the repetition can really tire out your muscles and tone your core, arms, and legs.
There are plenty of Pilates classes out there you can join, at all times of the day if you live in a big city. If you live in an area with no Pilates studios, you can also look up tutorials and workout videos at home. You can work out in comfortable clothing you can move in, and you can purchase a yoga mat to protect your knees and spine when you lie down or kneel in some exercises. After a few months, you should find your body leaner and more toned, your balance better, and your overall body more flexible.
The Bottom Line
Low-impact workouts can help you tone up, gain flexibility, and have a healthier heart. Just because they do not require any running or jumping does not mean they are in any way less than high-impact sports, as they can provide you with a workout just as intense. If you are into running, football, basketball, gymnastics, or other high-intensity sports, you can also supplement your training with some yoga, Pilates, and swimming to strengthen your muscles.