Both high and low impact exercise are beneficial to your health. Low impact exercise involves minimal striking of the feet against the ground. Types of exercise that are considered to be low impact are swimming, step or water aerobics, cardio on an elliptical trainer, yoga, Pilates, walking, biking, and rowing. High impact exercises include running, jumping jacks, plyometrics and jumping rope. You should try to incorporate a little bit of both in your routine.
Myth #2: Low impact exercise means low intensity.
Low impact does not necessarily mean low intensity. When we are speaking of intensity we are talking about heart rate. A high intensity workout is one in which the heart rate goes to 75% of max heart rate or higher. High intensity workouts have been proven to increase metabolism, burn more calories and increase fitness faster. However, many low impact exercises can also get your heart rate into your target heart rate zone and offer benefits other than cardiovascular ones.
Myth #3: Only beginners should do low impact exercise.
Low impact exercise is great for a number of people: beginners, seniors, if you are overweight or pregnant, or if you have injuries or chronic health problems like arthritis. Another reason to include some low impact exercise into your repertoire: A cardio program that includes only high impact movements that are repetitive or jarring can lead to injury. So if you are a runner, you can decrease your risk of injury by substituting a low impact form of cardio such as biking or swimming in your regimen at times.
Myth #4: A workout has to be painful for it to be effective.
Not all exercise has to be intense for benefits. There are certainly many benefits from doing lower impact workouts such as walking, yoga and Pilates. For instance, any exercise increases levels of "feel good" endorphins that can improve your mood. You can build stabilization and strength in your core by doing yoga or Pilates. This is wonderful for back health, your belly's appearance and it can even help you lift more weight at the gym. If your core is strong you can safely lift more weight during strength training which leads to better body composition. Pilates and yoga can also decrease stress, improve circulation, improve posture, and improve balance. Yoga has also been shown to have heart health benefits by slowing the heart rate, decreasing blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Yoga may boost the immune system, help with insomnia, and relieve asthma and arthritis symptoms. Look at all there is to be gained! Low impact exercises can be a great way to improve your life.
Maria Faires, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist and freelance writer based out of Sammamish, WA. Maria is considered to be one of Western Washington's premier fitness and nutrition experts. As the owner of Active Nutrition Fitness & Consulting, Maria provides highly personalized nutrition services, personal training and preventative and post-rehabilitative fitness programming in her private training studio. She also provides Skype, phone and online nutrition counseling and training for remote clients. Maria leads the industry in the development of cutting edge fitness and nutrition techniques as well as innovative and unique fitness programming. Maria expertly designs every workout, nutrition plan and provides the personal attention, extra motivation, support and accountability that helps her clients achieve optimal performance and health. Contact or read more about Maria at www.myactivenutrition.com.