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6 Low-Impact Exercises For Better Body Function

No matter your current age or level of fitness, if you want to stay mobile and physically capable in your later years, it is important to embrace some forms of low impact exercise that will preserve and strengthen, rather than break down your body as you age.

Even though all forms of exercise have their benefits at various stages of life, low-impact exercise is best over time because it won't take a physical toll on your muscles and joints, whilst still giving you some fantastic benefits for your health and longevity. 

Here, we will share with you a variety of low impact exercise examples so that you can choose the ones that resonate with you to include in your weekly movement routine.

Benefits Of Low-Impact Exercises

As human beings, we are meant to move our bodies daily to avoid them becoming frail, weak and immobile.

The problem today is that sedentary lifestyles have become the norm, which is why much of the population suffers from a variety of health issues, including depression and weight gain.

Low-impact exercises help to keep the body moving in a stress-free way, whilst keeping the heart and lungs strong, maintaining functional strength and ensuring a healthy body composition. 

Exercise And Your Emotional Health

Regular exercise is not just for your body, it has been proven time and time again to help with mental and emotional health.

Low-impact exercise is a great way to also avoid and treat anxiety and stress because it relieves tension, negative thinking and promotes a sense of mindfulness and wellbeing.

Who Is Low Impact Exercise For?

Low-impact exercise is generally suitable for people of all ages and levels of fitness because of the low levels of stress it places on the body, whilst also building cardio vascular endurance, body strength and supporting a healthy metabolism.

The best form of baseline low impact exercise is brisk walking, which you should do daily for 30-45 minutes as a minimum whenever you possible can.

Beyond walking, there are a number of low-impact exercises which will add another dimension to your overall body functionality, strength and body composition when you practice them on a regular basis in addition to your daily walks.

Low-Impact Exercises You Can Do At Home

The great thing about these low-impact exercises, is that they can be done easily at home without the need for equipment and by simply using your body weight. 

The following are some practical examples of low-impact exercises you can build into a simple 10-15 minute routine for yourself daily, or every other day, or whenever you feel like doing a little extra beneficial exercise.

1. Standard Squats

  • Targets: Lower Body
  • Variations: Standard body weight or can be 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. 10-12 repetitions for 3 rounds/sets with a 30 second rest in between;
  • Physical Benefits: It isn't just your lower body, namely your quads and glutes that benefit from doing squats. Squats help build great foundational lower body strength, reducing your likelihood of injuries and falls, whilst adding tone to your lower body.

2. Push-Ups

  • Targets: Upper body, chest, shoulders and triceps
  • Variations: Bent knee are easiest or standard push ups if you have the strength.
  • How-To: For modified knee push-ups, place your hands on the floor shoulder width apart. On top of a mat or firm 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 8-10 push-ups for 3 rounds/sets with a 30 second rest in between.
  • Physical Benefits: This compound exercise utilises all the major muscle groups in the upper body which is great for performing everyday tasks that require basic strength, whilst enhancing posture and protecting against lowe back injuries.

    3.  Wall Sits

    • Targets: Quads, Hamstrings, Lower Back, Shoulders & Core
    • Variations: Standard body weight or with weights for added difficulty
    • How-To: With you back flush against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart and out from the wall, slide your back down the wall until you're 90 degrees. Tighten your core and hold for 30-60 seconds, then slide yourself back up to standing.  Do this 5-6 times.
    • Physical Benefits: Another compound exercise that builds lower body strength, functionality and muscular endurance, whilst improving flexibility and concentration.

    4.  Lateral or Side Lunges

    • Targets: Lower Body
    • Variations: Standard with body weight or add weights 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 for 3 rounds/ sets.  
    • Physical Benefits: Side lunges not only add strength and tone to your quads, glutes and hamstrings, they're fantastic for improving your balance, stability and overall range of motion.

    5.  Plank

    • Targets: Core, Lower Back & Glutes
    • Variations: Standard (high with palms flat on the floor and knees off the ground) or with your knees resting on the floor for assistance.
    • How-To: To complete a standard high plank, lay down on the floor and place your hands shoulder-width apart underneath you as if you're about to perform a standard push up. Ensure your back is flat, engage your core by keeping it tight and hold this position for 15-30 seconds.  Rest for 15-20 seconds then repeat 2-3 times.
    • Physical Benefits: The primary goal of doing the plank is to strengthen your core which is the centrepiece of the torso and vital to so many everyday functional movements we perform. The additional benefits include better posture, more flexibility to prevent injury and a more defined and attractive mid-section.

    6.  Bridging

    • 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, rest and repeat 3-5 times.
    • 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 stabilising your core, which will ease lower back pain and strengthen your back muscles, making it more resilient to injury. 

    Other Examples of Low-Impact Functional Exercise

    In addition, there are some other wonderful low-impact activities you can practice that offer inherent functional movement, cardiovascular and strength benefits.  A few of these include:


    Yoga is an incredible practice suitable for just about anyone, which you can do in the comfort of your own home with an instructional video or find yourself a local studio.

    Yoga helps improves flexibility, balance and teaches you how to align breath with movement.  Yoga is also very restorative for easing anxiety and stress and supporting mental health and wellbeing.


    Swimming laps at your local pool or in the open water estuary with a swim club, is fantastic low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout that's easy on the joints that can help build stamina, cardio health and all round body mobility and strength.


    Cycling is a great low-impact exercise that builds your cardiovascular endurance, stamina, lower body strength and is super easy on the joints.


    Pilates is a popular form of low-impact exercise that you can practice at home or at a local studio that offers reformer pilates.  Pilates is a very effective form of exercise for improving muscle tone, flexibility and your overall body shape when you practice it regularly.

    The Main Take Away

    Low-impact exercise is something you should incorporate into your weekly routine even as you get older, because it gives you so many of the benefits of exercise without the risks of injuries or placing unnecessary stress on your muscles and joints.

    The entire aim of low-impact exercise is to allow you to maintain your stamina, strength, heart health, metabolism and body composition, whilst ensuring you continue to be physically independent and capable as you age.

    So, if you're not already practicing low-impact exercise, be sure to do your body a favour and start including some of the activities shared with you here in your weekly routine for your better health and wellbeing.

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