Top Low-Impact Exercises For Health & Wellness
No matter your current fitness level, if you want to stay nimble and active into your later years, it's best to include low impact exercises that will preserve and strengthen, rather than break down your body.
Even if you're used to more intense forms of exercise, it pays to balance this out with some lower impact daily activities that will keep you flexible, agile and injury-free.
As hyped up as crossfit, running and other forms of high-intensity training can be, they can take their toll eventually, often leading to serious acute or chronic issues. Sore muscles will be the least of your worries when you’ve hurt your knee joints or slipped a disk. So, with caution and progress simultaneously in mind, let’s look into low-impact exercises for health, wellness and longevity.
Physical Benefits Of Low-Impact Exercises
Inactivity is disastrous to your physical body — your body is your true home, and really, your most important investment, so movement is crucial.
Our bodies are designed to move, and when they're left to sit in front of the television, that's when the problems start: stiff joints, weight gain, etc. It's never been more important with today's technology-dependency that we include daily activity to keep our bodies running optimally. Low-impact exercises help build endurance, strengthen your muscles and joints, burn calories and are fundamental to maintaining good health with a healthy body weight.
Learn more in: Losing Weight: The Big Fat Lie.
Exercise And Your Emotional Wellness
Regular exercise is not just for your body, it has been proven time and again to help with your mental health. Low-impact exercise is used to treat anxiety, depression and stress because it relieves tension, promotes a sense of mindfulness, is calming and helps break negative thinking. For a more positive outlook on life, sharper focus and better memory exercise is invaluable to your emotional wellbeing.
Learn more in: 7 Ways to Deal With Anxiety & Find Inner Peace
Low-impact exercises are suitable for everyone, even seasoned athletes. They not only improve your physical health by getting your heart rate up to help you burn calories, but, as you likely know, exercise is also integral to your mental wellbeing.
Remember any exercise is better than none at all. Celebrate your commitment to exercising for your best health, rather than the activity itself. This is especially important if you have a goal you're working towards, like participating in a marathon. Our bodies aren't sports cars that are built to go from zero to 100 in seconds. It takes patience and the gumption to stick with a fitness routine, because we won’t see visible results right away. So don't give up, understand that setbacks are inevitable, and with a positive mindset, realistic approach, and hard work, you can achieve your fitness goals.
Learn more in: Feeding Your Emotions With Whole Foods.
Low-Impact Exercises You Can Do At Home
Get started on your low-impact fitness routine at home with these exercises that'll help condition your body and mind, so you're one step closer to reaching your goals. You don't need any fancy equipment, just a little positivity and some good, clean fuel to power your workout.
Learn more in: Top 10 Plant-Based Foods For Peak performance & High Energy
- Targets:Lower Body, Back and Abdominals
- How To: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and palms flat on the ground. Bend your knees with your feet planted flat on the floor and lift your pelvis up in the air as you tighten your abs and buttocks. Do your best to create a straight line from knees to shoulders by tightening your core. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 10x.
- Physical Benefits: Bridging does wonders for your posture, as well as slimming your stomach for a more defined waistline. By incorporating the basic bridge, you're stabilizing your core, which will ease lower back pain and strengthen your back muscles, making it more resilient to injury. But if need a natural pain reliever, try Healing Chrysm.
Learn more in: Tips For Healing Muscle, Joint & Back Pain.
- Targets: Lower Body
- Variations: Small steps (beginner) & taller steps (advanced).
- How-To: Stand in front of an aerobic step or another stable platform with your feet hip-width apart. Plant and push up with your left leg to propel your right leg onto the platform. Bring your left foot up, pause for a count then step back down and switch sides (right propels, left follows). Do 15 step ups per side for a total of 30 and repeat 3x.
- Physical Benefits: Tone your legs for better balance and more lower body strength.
- Targets: Full Body
- Variations: Wall or knee are easiest; standard for a challenge.
- How-To: To do modified knee push-ups (closest to the standard ones) place your hands on the floor shoulder width apart. On top of a mat or plush surface move your knees back until you can make a straight line with your torso (knees to head) then bend your elbows lowering your body to the ground. Then, push up until your elbows are straight. Try doing 5-10 push-ups, 3x.
- Physical Benefits: This compound exercise utilizes all the major muscle groups which gets your heart rate up (cardio), improves flexibility (for less injury), supports muscle growth, enhances posture and protects the body from shoulder and lower back injury (strengthening supporting muscle groups).
- Targets: Core, Lower Back & Glutes
- Variations: Standard (high), knee or side.
- How-To: To complete a high plank, lay down on the floor and place your hands shoulder-width apart underneath you. Using your toes shift your weight and push up with your arms bringing your body flat. Engage your core by keeping it tight and hold this position for 15-20 seconds.
- Physical Benefits: The primary goal of doing the plank is to strengthen your core. The side benefits include better posture (by working all the major muscles), more flexibility to prevent injury (especially to the lower back) and a more defined middle.
- Targets: Lower Body
- Variations: Standard & weighted
- How-To: Feet shoulder-width apart then slowly bend your hips, knees and feet until you're 90 degrees or in a 'chair-like posture.' 15-20 times, repeated 3x.
- Physical Benefits: It isn't just your lower body, namely your legs, that benefit from doing squats. Squats, in addition to other low-impact exercises, help build leg muscles for better range of motion, reduces the likelihood of injury, tones your lower body and helps keep your bowel movements regular. But sometimes you need a cleanse, try Cleanse Me.
Learn more in: Digestive System: Is Your Colon A River Of Life?
- Targets: Quads, Hamstrings, Lower Back, Shoulders & Core
- Variations: Standard & weighted for added difficulty.
- How-To: With you back flush against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart and 2ft out from the wall, slide your back down the wall until you're 90 degrees. Tighten your core and hold for 30-60 seconds.
- Physical Benefits: Another compound exercise that builds endurance, improves flexibility, strengthens muscles and encourages concentration.
Lateral or Side Lunges
- Targets: Lower Body
- Variations: Squat lower or add weight for added difficulty.
- How-To: Standing feet shoulder-width apart, clasp your hands over your chest and take a large step left. Drop down your hips while keeping right leg straight and soles planted and pointed forward on the ground - be mindful not to lock your leg. Hold for a pause then repeat on the other side. 5-10 per side, repeat this 3x.
- Physical Benefits: Doing regular squats improves the strength of the side of your glutes, which will provide you with greater balance, stability, range of motion and resilience to injury.
Low-Impact Exercises You Can Do Outside
Variety is the spice of life, so if you'd like to incorporate more low-impact exercises into your schedule, these are some excellent activities to throw into the mix. Make sure you eat a solid first meal to kickstart your metabolism with a Ground Wholefood Farina.
Going for a walk is free, it gets you outdoors and into the sunshine and fresh air which does wonders for lifting your mood and getting you into even better shape! It tones your legs and builds endurance. If you want a better workout consider interval training (walk fast for a few minutes and then slow it down), using your arms, hiking or walking at a brisker pace. Just don’t forget the natural sunscreen like, Sun Loves Me Chemical-Free Sunscreen.
Yoga is an incredible workout suitable for anybody that can be done in the comfort of your own home with an instructional video or taken as a class. There is a reason why yoga is wildly popular, it improves flexibility and balance, and supports emotional wellbeing (reduces stress, depression and anxiety). Prevent cramping and improve metabolic function with Himalayan Crystal Salt.
Swimming is an inexpensive low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout that's easy on the joints. But if you’re joints are aching try Golden Re-Leaf Muscle & Joint Natural Pain Relief Oil. Hitting the pool for some laps is a doctor recommended activity because it's applicable for anyone, it's good cardio and is as effective at burning calories as running.
Learn more in: Arthritis & Joint Issues: How To Heal & Alleviate The Pain.
It doesn't need to be New Years to turn over a new leaf and to incorporate exercise into your routine: make today that day. Exercise is essential to our physical and emotional health. Try adding these top low-impact exercise to your day to protect your body from the perils of inactivity and for a happier home, and happier life.
Learn about developing the right mental approach in: Self Care Mindset: How To Get On A Healthy Path & Stick To Positive New Habits.
Tolman Self Care