What Are The Best Low-Impact Exercises and Workouts That Anyone Can Do At Home?
Carving out time in your day to exercise is certainly important, but it’s not always easy. The day happens, and before you know it you just don’t have time to pack up your active wear and head on down to the neighborhood gym. That’s where the internet comes in. You’re never more than a quick search away from infinite workout ideas.
Today, we’re going to feature some equipment-free workouts and exercises that can be done at home. We’ll narrow it down even further by focusing only on those at-home move sets that are easy on the joints. So you’ll be ready when the next at-home workout opportunity knocks on your front door.
High Impact vs. Low-Impact
It’s easy to get confused, but an exercise’s impact doesn’t have anything to do with a movement’s ability to generate results. Instead, the fitness community uses the terms high impact and low impact to classify movement subsets.
High impact exercises are movements in which both feet are off the ground at the same time. Cross-fit, calisthenics, tennis, and running are all considered high impact exercises. Low impact exercises require one foot to be touching the ground at all times, and are generally much easier on the joints and muscles.
High impact exercise certainly does have its benefits, but it’s not for everyone. They’re hard on your joints, and much harder on your downstairs neighbors. Thankfully there are a ton of low-impact exercise options available online.
Low Impact Exercises
Low impact exercises are the way to go for anyone nursing injured knees, or really anyone looking to get back into exercising for the first time in a long time. They’re used to build strength and endurance while also minimizing the risk of injury. The following five exercises can be done at home, and without the need to invest and store a bulky piece of gym equipment.
Mock jump rope
- Step 1: Start standing with your feet hip-width apart.
- Step 2: Jump slightly using the balls of your feet with soft knees, while mimicking the wrist motion of jumping rope.
Mock jump rope is a great way to get your heart pumping while eliminating the frustrating learning curve and high impact movements associated with a traditional jump rope. The “jumping” movement can be modified to increase or decrease its impact on your knees. It can be done with or without a cut rope as well.
Squat to jab
- Step 1: Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width, and your arms by your sides.
- Step 2: Squat down with your back straight, chest up, and knees out.
- Step 3: Stand up and, when your legs are fully extended, throw a punch.
- Step 4: Repeat while alternating your punching arms.
Squat to jab is a series of movements that activate your whole body and get your heart racing. You can mix the squats with any number of punch combinations to spice up the movement and make things more fun.
- Step 1: Begin in a lunge position similar to a curtsy. Both legs should be bent, with your right leg behind and across the body.
- Step 2: Push off your left leg, start to stand, and bring the right leg forward while swinging your left leg back and across.
If you avoid leaving your feet, skaters can be an excellent exercise that builds endurance and leg strength. This may feel awkward at first, but the more you practice the easier it will become, and the faster you’ll be.
- Step 1: Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, hips slightly bent, and arms in front of you.
- Step 2: Shift your weight to the right, raise your right foot, and push off your left foot to move to the right.
- Step 3: Bring your feet together and repeat in both directions at your desired speed.
The lateral shuffle builds coordination and leg strength while improving your cardio. It serves as the perfect warm up but can double as a quick cardio drill whenever you’re tight for time.
- Step 1: Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.
- Step 2: Extend your right arm forward while simultaneously moving your left leg backward while keeping your back straight.
- Step 3: Draw your right elbow and left knee to your center to meet at your abdomen.
The bird-dog crunch is a great low-impact workout that promotes mobility, balance, stability, and core strength in one smooth, low-impact motion.
Low Impact Workouts
Those hoping to shake up their exercise routine will be happy to know that there are indeed a bunch of low impact options. Nagging injuries, sore joints, or weak muscles won’t keep you from breaking a sweat here. The following low-impact workout options are affordable, accessible, and can mostly be done at home.
One of the most universally beloved workouts in the world, yoga might be the ideal low-impact, at-home workout. The internet is full of free, total body and targeted routines of all lengths and proficiency levels. All of which can be done at home.
Those looking for a little more burn should give pilates a try. Pilates DVDs can be had for a few dollars, and most require nothing more than a standard exercise mat. It is low-impact, but can serve as a satisfying way to improve your flexibility, strength, and mobility.
Walking around the block a few times or exploring the local trails is as great for the body as it is for the mind. Walking will help you maintain a healthy weight, boost your heart health, build endurance, and increase your energy levels. It’s also the perfect off-day exercise for when you can’t get yourself to the gym.
It doesn’t get much lower impact than cycling. More than just a means of transportation, cycling is an all-star stamina booster, that’s as fun as it is effective. Go to a local spin class or just hit the streets and explore.
Swimming isn’t something that most of us can do at home. But, swimming bears mentioning here because it’s so darn effective. Swimming is like strength training and cardio building all at once. It’s also easy on the joints. Check out your local community center to see if they have free swim times or fun classes if you don’t have access to your own pool.
Get Started Today!
Trying different exercises and experimenting with new workouts helps keep things fresh. Who knows, you may just fall in love with yoga or discover a talent for endurance swimming. The only way to find out is to try.
Arming yourself with options ensures flexibility too. Most of us don’t always have time to run 15K, but could easily pop on a quick yoga video or go for a walk on lunch break. The trick to getting healthy and staying that way is consistency and persistence. So keep learning, keep searching, and keep asking the right questions.