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How to Make Cardio Low Impact

Low impact training doesn’t mean sacrificing results

Date March 23, 2021
Author Patrick Wong
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We’ve often seen in our community, members discussing pre-existing conditions and injuries that prevent them from doing certain exercises or completing specific classes. With that, we also commonly see an associated guilt because of this.

While it can be an understandably frustrating experience, is it worth risking injury and mental burnout by prescribing to fitness with an “all or nothing” philosophy?

Well, no. And that’s why low impact training matters.

What Exactly is Low Impact Training

First things first, what exactly is low impact training?

Low impact training means to workout without any high-joint impact exercises or movements, like burpees, jump squats, etc. If you’re low impact training, at least one of your feet will always be on the ground.

While you may be thinking, “can I get a good workout in without any dynamic exercises?” the answer is yes! Oftentimes, not only is the “perfect” body glorified, but the extreme measures that are taken to get there.

“Cardiovascular fitness and burning calories with HIIT (high intensity interval training) is all about how much you move and how high your heart rate is. You don't have to stress your joints with high-impact to achieve those goals,” Dr. Joel French, Head of Exercise Science for Tempo explained.

Rest assured, there are still plenty of ways to elevate the heart rate, get super sweaty, and gain strength from low impact workouts.

While there are some pretty obvious choices for low impact exercising, including swimming, walking, and biking, there are other ways to make remarkable progress in your endurance, power, and mobility that don’t require a ton of steady-state cardio (and time).

Build a HIIT workout:

You don’t need burpees (which we know is music to your ears) to do a low impact workout that will leave you a sweaty heap on the ground.

Consider doing a circuit with short rest periods in between exercises (think 30 seconds of work to 15 seconds of rest) and including these:

Push-ups: Whether on your hands or knees, playing with your tempo (oo we love it when we can use that word) and pace can get the heart palpitating and build strength.

Mountain climbers: Do these quick enough and you’ll work up a sweat in no time.

Kettlebell Swings: Playing with weight and speed, you can activate large muscle groups while raising your heart rate.

Air Squat: If your knees can handle it, variations in depth, tempo, and speed can accelerate the heart rate and develop power.

No-jump burpees: We know, we know, we said no burpees...but, these are too good to pass up! You’ll often see our coaches recommending this if you need a low impact alternative to the traditional burpee. Stepping your feet in and out of the high plank (or jumping them out if possible) will still provide a full body activation and literally take your breath away.

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list, which is really the beautiful thing about low impact training. There’s a lot more that you can do, and hopefully this list inspires you to think about what other joint-saving exercises you could be doing to have a low impact, high intensity workout that gives you a guilt-free workout without sacrificing any benefits or results.

You don't have to stress your joints with high-impact to achieve those goals

Wait, what about weights?

Now, you may be asking, what about strength training?

And that’s a great thing to point out — strength training for the most part is inherently low impact. However, strength training with an existing injury or with any joint and mobility issues should be treated carefully and with the monitoring and advice of a trusted professional.

In the meantime, get your sweat on with these low impact, high intensity exercises. For Tempo members, we’ve compiled a list of classes with either all or predominantly low impact exercises, to take out the guesswork. You’ll find them on the “Classes” screen of your Tempo. If you’re currently enrolled in a program and are finding no roadblocks, continue on, however, if you’re finding that your progress feels stagnant because you aren’t able to complete an entire class or certain exercises, check out this collection!

Author Patrick Wong
Tags Health and Wellness
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