Top Low Impact Exercises

Top Low Impact Exercises

Low impact exercises are a great option for people just starting out in the world of sport or for those who’ve suffered an injury and are still recovering.

These exercises are also recommended for athletes, during their rest period or after a thorough high impact training session, for example.

You can include low impact exercises in your training routine, regardless of your age, as they’re effective for both young and old people in any physical condition.

What are low impact exercises?

Low impact exercises consist of smooth, fluid movements that gradually increase your heart rate and apply less pressure to your joints than high impact exercises.

What does low impact exercise mean?

When we talk about “impact” we mean the amount of force that a movement exerts on your body. A low impact exercise means applying less physical stress to the joints.

For example, the one that your knees receive when running.

Low impact

You can identify them because you execute the movements keeping one or both feet on the ground (on pedals or straps) the whole time.

On the other hand, low impact doesn’t necessarily imply low intensity. An example of a low impact exercise would be squats, in which the intensity can be very high, depending on the weight or load used.

By practising workouts that involves the whole body and all muscle groups, you’ll have great results in terms of endurance, strength and cardio, maybe even as much as a routine in which you work the muscle groups separately.

With low impact exercises, you adjust the intensity until you find the perfect rhythm for your physical level.

What are the benefits of low impact exercises?

Low impact training can bring significant fitness benefits, for both beginners and more experienced athletes, such as those explained below:

  • Lower risk of injury. Because they’re smooth movements, they’re not aggressive and encourage joint care.
They result in less injuries and allow anyone with joint pain or any other limitation to get the benefits of exercise.
  • They enhance physical condition. They’re a tool to improve your cardiovascular capacity, and raise your health levels.
Try a 30-minute session and tell us how you get on.
  • They help with recovery. They’re an excellent alternative for recovery days, after an intense high-impact or high-intensity training session.
They provide strength and power that will keep you in shape and help with your normal routines.
  • They burn calories. It is possible to develop more muscle mass with low impact strength training, don’t be afraid; it can increase your metabolic rate.
The best way to develop muscle is to progressively overload the muscles, which subjects them to a greater and greater challenge, meaning muscle growth is possible with low impact movements too.
  • They improve mobility. With low impact exercises, you can move your body in all directions and across all planes of movement, in addition to testing your “core”.
Working on hip mobility, buttocks strengthening exercises and spinal twists are all movements that help your joints and your body perform better.

What are low impact exercises?

The range of options for low impact exercise includes movements that you can do both in the gym and at home, although it’s best to start under the guidance or consultation of personal trainers (in some cases, it may be advisable to have a medical check-up beforehand).

Below are some examples of machines that you can use to carry out low impact exercises:

  • Elliptical

    Ellipticals recreate movements similar to running but obviously without the impact. They’re quite easy to use: keep your back straight (respect the natural curvature of the spine), have your feet placed in the middle of the pedals, and move your arms and legs in a synchronised fashion.


  • Rowing machine

    Rowing machines let us to perform a full body workout without impact. Each repetition is divided into phases: the initial position (legs contracted and arms stretched); the pull (we push with the legs and “pull” with the arms at the rate of 80-20%); and the recovery.


  • Exercise bikes

    The classic gym machine. Essentially we’re imitating the movement of a bike, but without the air in our face (thus raising the temperature). Try to adjust the saddle height: when standing next to the bike, our hip should be aligned with the saddle height.


Low impact low intensity exercises

Here we’re going to include exercises that don’t raise our heart rate, or which, due to their characteristics, can be maintained for a prolonged period of time without affecting our heart rate.

They include:

  • Walking.
  • Swimming.
  • Riding a bike.


Walking is one of the best activities we can do.

Low impact exercises you can do at home

While it’s true that one of the “problems” with these exercises are that they’re intended for an enclosed environment, and not so much outdoors…

We can always head out to the park.

Some low impact exercises that you can do at home, without the need for machines:

  • Jumping Jacks without the jump: as metabolic conditioning.
  • Static lunge: working the lower body.
  • Arm push-ups: working the upper body (pushing).

How do you do low impact exercise?

It’s easy and effective to incorporate a low impact exercise routine into your daily life. Try out some of these simple habits:

  • When you get up, start with 10 minutes of stretching.
  • When you leave home, walk or cycle.
  • Avoid the lift, take the stairs.
  • Do yoga in your spare time.

Related Entries

  • The best exercises to correct the posture: click here.
  • Resistance bands can be used for low-impact exercises, such as these.
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About María José García
María José García
María José has been linked to sport since she was a child when she entered and even competed in various sporting disciplines, such as skating, swimming and gymnastics.
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