What Are Low Impact Exercises And Their Benefits?
It’s always been my mission to empower ALL women with the tools to achieve their fitness goals, but I have realised over time that my programs are too hard and too intense for some women — including my mum, Anna. Not everyone wants to or can do exercises that require jumping!
But I knew I could design a program that my mum would find achievable by focusing on low-impact exercises and creating workouts with NO jumping at all.
The result is Low Impact with Kayla, which makes my style of training more accessible to more women — something I’m really proud of! And because I know there are a lot of women of all ages and fitness levels who are interested in trying low-impact workouts, I want to share more about low-impact exercises and their benefits.
What are low impact exercises?
Low-impact exercises minimise the stress and pressure placed on your joints.
To be considered low-impact exercises, the moves require you to keep your whole body supported or have at least one foot in contact with the ground during most movements.
The benefits of low impact exercises
Whether you are new to exercise or wanting to try a different style of training, there are many benefits of low-impact exercises.
They’re easy on your knees — and other joints!
Your knees can absorb up to three times your body’s weight with high-impact exercise, such as running or plyometrics (which require jumping), and this can put a lot of stress on your joints.
However, low-impact exercises allow you to support your body as you move, without putting additional strain on your joints. That’s good news for your knees — as well as your shoulders and hips!
You can do them if you’re a beginner or returning to fitness
If you’re new to training or starting again after a break, low-impact exercises can be a good option for kickstarting your fitness journey.
Training with low-impact exercises can also help you build up strength in the muscles surrounding your joints, which can help further support your joint health and range of movement.
You’ll also experience ALL of the benefits of training from low-impact exercises, including better cardiovascular fitness and improved mood.
They can help build your mind-body connection
When you do low-impact exercises at a lower intensity, you may feel a greater awareness of which muscle groups you’re working throughout the movements.
This can also help you to create a better connection between your body and your mind, and move with correct form.
Once you’ve established good form, you can take your training to the next level by doing low impact exercises at a higher intensity.
They can be done with minimal equipment
You don’t need a lot of equipment to get started with low-intensity exercises. If you’re training with my program Low Impact with Kayla, all you need to get started is a mat, chair and some dumbbells!
They’ll help you create healthy habits
If you’re new to exercise, starting off with achievable, low-impact exercises can help you to create a new, healthy routine that includes working out regularly.
My program, Low Impact with Kayla has been created with beginners or women returning to exercise in mind, with four foundation weeks available. These weeks are designed to build up your fitness foundation through easy-to-follow low-impact workouts and help you create sustainable, healthy habits for the long term.
5 low-impact exercises you can do at home
1. Double-Pulse Sumo Squat
Squats are a great compound exercise that builds muscle and strength throughout your entire legs.
1. Begin by planting both feet on the floor just wider than shoulder-width and with your feet pointed slightly outward. Gently draw your pubic bone to your belly button (engage pelvic floor). This is your starting position.
2. Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your torso remains as upright as possible. This is called the full squat position.
3. Push through your heels and extend your legs slightly. Bend your knees to return to the full squat position.
4. Exhale. Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to the starting position.
6. You should feel tension in your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps throughout the movement.
2. Lateral Lunge
Lateral lunges build muscle all through your glutes and quads, as well as your adductor muscles, which are located in your inner thighs.
1. Plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
2. Inhale. Keeping your right foot on the floor, release your left foot and take a big step to your left. As you plant your foot on the floor, bend your left knee, ensuring that your right leg remains straight.
3. Exhale. Extend your left knee and transfer your weight onto your right foot. Step your left foot inwards to return to the starting position.
4 Inhale. Keeping your left foot on the floor, release your right foot and take a big step to your right. As you plant your foot on the floor, bend your right knee, ensuring that your left leg remains straight.
5. Exhale. Extend your right knee and transfer your weight onto your left foot. Step your right foot inwards to return to the starting position.
6. Continue alternating between your left and right sides.
3. Ab bikes
Ab bikes primarily target your abdominal muscles.
1. Start by lying straight on your back on a mat with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your earlobes. Gently raise both legs and your head and shoulders off the mat. This is your starting position.
2. While keeping your right leg extended, bend your left knee and draw it in towards your chest. At the same time, rotate your torso to the left to bring your right elbow to your knee.
4. Untwist your torso and extend your left knee to return to the starting position. Immediately bend your right knee and draw it in towards your chest and rotate your torso to the right to bring your left elbow to your knee.
5. Untwist your torso and extend your right knee to return to the starting position.
6. Continue alternating between your left and right sides.
4. X Mountain Climber
X mountain climbers are a great full-body exercise, but will particularly help you build strength in your upper body and your core. They can also elevate your heart rate if done at a fast pace, which will help increase your cardio fitness.
1. Place both hands on the yoga mat shoulder-width apart and both feet together behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. This is your starting position.
2. Keeping your right foot on the floor, bend your left knee and bring it into your chest and towards your right elbow.
3. Extend your left leg to return to the starting position.
4. Keeping your left foot on the floor, bend your right knee and bring it into your chest and towards your left elbow.
5. Extend your right knee and return to the starting position.
6. Continue alternating between left and right sides, inhaling for two repetitions and exhaling for two repetitions.
5. Bicep Curl
This exercise uses dumbbells, but If you don’t have dumbbells, you can substitute for two safe objects of the same weight, such as bags of food, water bottles, or other household items.
1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand in a neutral grip (palms facing inwards) with arms extended on either side of your body, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
3. Exhale. Bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells in towards your chest, ensuring that your elbows remain in close contact with the sides of your body.
4. Inhale. Extend your elbows to lower the dumbbells and return to the starting position.
You can still achieve your goals with low impact exercises
If you’re ready for more low-intensity exercises, you can try Low Impact with Kayla!
It’s an eight-week program that includes workouts you can do at home or in the gym, and it’s available exclusively in the Sweat app.
I’m so excited to see even more women become empowered through fitness — find a workout buddy and start your fitness journey today!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.