There are a lot of reasons people avoid running. One of those may be joint issues. Running is a high-impact exercise that can cause musculoskeletal problems. High-impact exercises are those where both feet are off the ground at one time and come slamming back down on the feet—creating an impact that affects the joints, muscles, and bones. Pregnant women, those who recently gave birth, and people with joint issues, or other health risks should avoid high-impact workouts. Many people limit their cardio to running or jumping rope but there are also exceptionally good low-impact cardio exercises you can do.
What is a low-impact exercise?
If you run, there’s a point where both feet are off the ground. The front foot is in the air with the back foot lifting before it lands. Focusing on keeping at least one foot on the ground at all times can lead you to the ideal low-impact exercise. While step-ups work the muscles of the legs, including the tendons and muscles around the knee, they don’t jar the muscles or pound the joints, which can lead to potential injury. They build strength to make them more impervious to injury. Climbing flights of stairs is a good cardio workout.
Cardio is all about working your heart and getting it to beat faster to strengthen it.
You don’t have to slap your feet on the pavement for a higher heart rate. Riding a bike, whether it’s stationary or a regular bike, can work the joints and build cardio strength. If you have a knee problem, use a stationary bike on a low resistance level until the muscles around the joints strengthen. The movement can lubricate the joints without causing injury. If you like getting out in the fresh air, try speed walking. You can even modify calisthenics to change an exercise from high-impact to low-impact. Take the jump out of jumping jacks and step to the side instead of jumping.
You’ll work muscles harder when there’s resistance.
One of the easiest-on-the-joints workouts is swimming. Your body is buoyant in water, so there’s less pressure on the knees and joints. However, water has more resistance than air, so you work harder to move. Just walking in water can be a good low-impact workout. Swimming is another excellent low-impact cardio.
- High-impact workouts help build bone density faster, are better for weight loss, and aid in reaching fitness goals. If you’re removing high-impact cardio, turn your strength-builder workouts into cardio exercises by turning them into circuit or high-intensity interval training.
- A brisk walk is one way most people can boost their cardiovascular health. You can combine regular walks with gym visits for the perfect workout.
- If you have an issue with your joints, get the help of a personal trainer to modify your workout and ensure you aren’t exacerbating the problem. Trainers can create an entire low-impact cardio workout to build joint strength.
- If you have arthritis, stress fractures, joint issues, are pregnant, or are overweight, avoid high-impact exercises. Drink plenty of water to help lubricate your joints. Using a rowing machine or dancing are two excellent low-impact cardio workouts.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness