Popular for those who are more “I want to get in shape” than “Ironman-ready,” low-impact workouts might not have you running ragged—but that doesn’t mean these fitness fixes can’t be calorie-torchers, fat blasters and the jump-start to some serious body-toning.
1. Walk On
Perhaps the original low-impact workout and one of the most versatile, walking offers a multitude of health advantages. Most spas offer some type of walking activity with the added benefit of learning about the local area.
What Makes It Low-Impact: It’s not completely free of impact, but it minimizes stress on your muscles and bones. Keep a relatively fast pace and cover some serious distance to get the most out of walking.
How to Boost the Burn: Celebrity fitness trainer Ashley Borden suggests adding uphill terrain and a weighted vest to amp up your calorie-burning potential. “A vest safely disperses extra weight across the body, which results in a bigger boost to your metabolism.”
The Fitness Factor: Walking can help you lose weight and get in shape. And the best part? You can do it anywhere.
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2. Fitness Fusion
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice that, Delarosa says, “brings together a nice fusion of low-impact exercise and slow-paced martial arts movements.” The holistic factor adds to the uniqueness of this fitness regimen.
What Makes It Low-Impact: The movements are slow and there is a steady flow with each posture moving into the next, so there is no abrupt stopping and starting.
How to Boost the Burn: Tai Chi isn’t a total sweat fest but using your body’s resistance to hold each pose is great for strengthening and toning. Increasing the duration for which you hold the poses can boost metabolism a bit more.
The Fitness Factor: The movements are gentle and easy on the body so just about anyone can do them. Plus, you can go at your own pace.
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3. Put a New Spin on It
Cycling can provide an intense cardio workout that is easy on the joints and simple for anyone to do—seriously, anyone. From state-of-the-art stationary bikes to superfast spinning classes, most spas offer some type of cycling option.
What Makes It Low-Impact: You aren’t making any powerful impact against the ground and the cycling motion tends to be easy on the body—even the knees.
How to Boost the Burn: Increase your incline and set goals to increase your speed and distance as your skill level progresses.
The Fitness Factor: Great for anyone at any fitness level, cycling can multitask as a cardio workout as well as a strengthening routine. Increased inclines work to strengthen and tone the thighs and glutes.
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4. Take a Breather
An ancient form of mind and body exercise, yoga is believed to offer a plethora of health benefits through focused breathing techniques and structured poses that are gentle on the body.
What Makes It Low-Impact: Your body isn’t making any harsh moves or sudden contact with anything. The postures can be modified according to your fitness level.
How to Boost the Burn: Yoga can burn serious calories especially as your flexibility and strength improve. Try to increase the number of repetitions per pose and the durations of your yoga workouts as you progress. And make sure you are incorporating the poses known to rev up your metabolism like the willow and warrior poses.
The Fitness Factor: It is suitable for any age or physical condition and you can do it virtually anywhere—even your hotel room.
Where to Find It: Le Blanc Spa Resort, leblancsparesort.com
5. Go Deeper
Walden says, “Pool classes provide a great, intense workout with virtually no impact at all on the joints.”The resistance provided by the water revs up any workout while the weightlessness of being in the water reduces the impact on your joints and bones, allowing you to do moves you might not be able to do on dry land.
What Makes It Low-Impact: There is actually a little bit of science to this one. But basically water creates an upward force against the weight of your body, like an equalizer of sorts. This gives way to a feeling of weightlessness that enables you to really push yourself to the limits underwater.
How to Boost the Burn: Once you begin to feel more comfortable working out in the water, add weights to the mix for extra resistance.
The Fitness Factor: Suitable for anyone at any age and fitness level, water aerobics and swimming can provide a serious cardio boost that may not even feel like a workout at all. Classes or not, swimming can be done anywhere there’s a pool.
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6. Jump into It
Jumping is pretty much a no-no in low-impact workouts. But when the jumping takes place on a trampoline such as a rebounding workout, the benefits are two-fold: You get the cardio intensity of a high-impact move with the gentleness of low-impact exercise.
What Makes It Low-Impact: The trampoline is absorbing the impact of your jumps, so it’s not too hard on your ankles and joints.
How to Boost the Burn: Tack on a few extra minutes to each session and scorch an extra few calories in the process.
The Fitness Factor: A self-proclaimed fan of rebounding, Borden says, “It’s fun and effective, can be done in small spaces and offers great cardio and lymphatic benefits.”
Where to Find It: The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, houstonian.com
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