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3 women practicing yoga

The Best Low-Impact Fitness Activities

At some point or other, most people will find themselves recovering from an injury or suffering from a chronic, painful condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Whether you are concerned about potential weight gain or simply want to maintain your cardiovascular health and fitness, low-impact exercises will allow you to reach your goals without damaging your body further. Below are some of the best low-impact exercise options to choose from.


Experts agree that yoga is an incredibly effective, low-impact way to improve strength and flexibility. With special classes and routines designed for everything from pregnancy to injury recovery, yoga has a wide variety of options to choose from– and a proven history of delivering results. To get the most from a yoga workout, be sure to focus, breathe evenly, and stay in the moment. Performing and holding the moves correctly will help you to burn the most calories.


Swimming is an excellent way to exercise that has little to no impact on your joints. The full-body benefits of swimming include burning calories to lose or maintain weight, water resistance to strengthen muscles, and improved cardio-respiratory fitness. Alternating between different strokes such as the breaststroke, freestyle and butterfly will allow you to stretch and strengthen a wide range of muscles. 

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics can help you achieve some serious calorie-burning and muscle-strengthening benefits while enjoying a safe, low-impact environment that places far less pressure on joints and muscles. Unlike weights, water resistance can provide you with strengthening exercises that do not risk strain or injury. Most gyms and fitness centers offer a wide variety of water aerobics classes, such as Aqua Zumba, which make the activity far from boring. Additionally, working out in the water will help you stay cool while your exercise.

Outdoor Biking

Bicycling is one of the best low-impact cardiovascular workouts there is. However, it is important to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on your joints by riding with an appropriate amount of resistance. When riding outdoors, be sure to adjust your gears appropriately for hills and valleys. Aim for 60 to 80 RPMs for hilly terrain, and 80 to 100 for flat roads. During a normal bike ride, you can pedal off an average of 600 to 750 calories an hour, particularly if you alternate high-intensity climbs with more moderate pedaling.

Stationary Biking

Cycling indoors is another great way to burn calories, improve your cardiovascular system, and tone your lower body without risking injury to your joints. Again, adjusting your speed at frequent intervals will offer you the most effective workout. If you haven’t tried one yet, sign up for a spin class and get ready for the ride of your life – and health.

Barre Workouts

Barre workouts are ballet-inspired exercises that tone your muscles, burn calories and boost your metabolism. The workouts combine the use of light weights with strengthening moves done at a cardio pace. Hand weights, resistance bands, and small balls amp up the number of calories you burn while making your heart work harder.

Power Walking

Walking is an easy, fun, and effective low-impact exercise that can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as improve bone density. Walking can also assist with weight management and cardiovascular health. Striding at a brisk pace on a firm surface can burn up to 350 calories an hour, and you can increase that number by walking faster, tackling an incline, or adding resistance with a weighted vest.