Last Updated on April 19, 2017
When people begin to have trouble with their knees and hips or have suffered a debilitating injury such as a torn leg muscle or sprained ankle, medical recommendations for exercise often include the patient using low impact exercises to make up for loss of normal workouts. Low impact generally involves use of movement and exercise that doesn’t cause a jarring sensation or impact to the body, such as running or jumping around. While low impact exercises often won’t burn near as much calories as high-intensity workouts in aerobics or running, a healthy exercise system can still be developed keeping a person fit.
Because swimming can incorporate all parts of the body with very minimal or no impact at all to the joints, it is highly recommended as a low impact exercise. Both strength-building as well as aerobic workouts can be performed in a home pool, with hardly any stress put on the leg joints. Upper-body strength will build as well as endurance and cardiovascular capacity. Yet, because the legs don’t perform any stepping or running, the knees, hips and ankles are hardly affected.
While it does involve some impact, the jarring to the body while walking is far less than that of running. If a person has general mobility, regular and brisk walking can be very beneficial in maintaining a base level of cardiovascular health. However, a good exercise walk is not a five minute leisurely stroll around the block. Instead, good walking exercise that produces benefits involves at least 30 minutes a day of forced walking faster than one’s normal gait.
Because biking involves no impact at all and instead uses a circular motion, it makes a good low impact exercise. Many injuries involving muscle strains or tears force people to opt to bikes or ellipticals for the circular-motion exercise. The impact is avoided but the leg and body still get a workout, especially if resistance is applied.
Using a stairclimber at a gym or walking traditional stairs will also provide a heavy workout if applied for at least 20 minutes. Those who work in tall buildings can definitely take advantage of this kind of exercise using the stairs instead of the elevators. Most gyms also stock Stairmaster equipment for simulated stairs-climbing. Not only does the exercise build leg muscle, it also provides the body a slower but strong workout that will produce a sweat.