We all want more from our workouts: more fat blasting, more muscle strengthening, more calorie burning. But for those who can't or don't want to take it to the extreme (looking at you uber heavy lifters and CrossFitters), there are plenty of exercises you can do to maximize your efforts with lower impact to your ligaments and joints.
Low-impact exercises should not be confused as low intensity or easy. These exercises certainly require exertion, but they will be easier on the body. Who should consider low-impact exercises? If you are new or returning to fitness, have joint issues, or a significant amount of weight to lose (or you just want to take it easy on your joints in general), then you might want to consider low-impact exercises that pack a high impact punch.
To get the most results from low-impact exercises, you've got to work hard and keep your body guessing. The key is to push yourself as hard as physically possible so that you're essentially telling your body to make changes. If it's not a challenge, your body won't make the changes you'd like it to.
Below, are two examples of low-impact workouts you can do to get high-impact results.
Movin' on Up
Take your treadmill walk up a notch by gradually increasing the incline. For this workout, warm up for 5 minutes at an easy pace and gradually work towards a brisk pace. Every 2 minutes, increase the incline by 2.5 percent (starting from 0) until you've reached 30 minutes at a 15 percent incline. Please note, when you add more incline, your heart rate will elevate quickly, so you may need to slow your speed down when the incline levels are set higher.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is possible for those who are looking for low-impact exercises that pack a punch. Try the following four exercises in a circuit (one right after another without rest between exercises). These particular exercises challenge multiple muscle groups, strengthen your heart, improve lung capacity and blast fat in record time. Do this circuit five times with a rest period of 90-120 seconds between circuits for a total of 20 minutes.
Kettlebell Swings: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold a kettlebell in front of your body with both hands. With arms straight, a slight bend in your knees and a flat back, hinge. at your hips and swing the kettlebell back through your legs. Use the momentum to stand up and swing the kettlebell out in front of your body. Swing up to shoulder height as you stand straight up. Then let the kettlebell to swing back down through your legs. Do 12 -15 reps.
Squat Thrusts: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Drop into a squat position then place the palms of your hands on the floor or mat. Step back into a plank position, then step or jump your legs back to the squat position. Return to standing. Repeat. Do 12-15 reps.
Walkouts: Bend at the hips and place hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart in front of your feet. Walk hands forward until you're in a plank position. Walk your hands back and then stand up. Repeat. Do 12-15 reps.
Mountain Climbers: Get down on your hands and knees. Step the right foot up the middle of your body and place near your right hand, then step your left leg behind you. In one smooth motion, switch your legs while keeping your arms in the same position. Keep switching legs for 30 seconds.