Running and jumping are surefire ways to get your heart rate going, but high-impact cardio workouts like these can also put a ton of stress on the body, which is why fitness pros suggest taking 48-hour breaks between high-intensity, high-impact workouts, or roughly two to three times per week. “If you train using high impact regularly, adding some low-impact training one to two times per week is a great way to prevent overtraining and decrease your risk of injury,” says Trudie German, trainer and founder of Body Envy.
On the other days, low-impact cardio workouts are a great way to continue burning calories and improve your cardio conditioning while still giving your bod the time it needs to recover. Like a high-impact workout, low-impact cardio also strengthens and improves your respiratory and cardio fitness. That’s because low impact doesn’t mean low intensity, says German. What makes low-impact cardio different from high-impact cardio is that it applies less stress to your joints, she explains.
German says that, in addition to active adults looking for something to do on their off days, low-impact cardio is great for those who are new to working out, injured, or returning from injury, in particular. “If injured, low-impact work can be done two to four times weekly,” she suggests.
If you aren’t already incorporating low-impact cardio exercises into your fitness routine, there are a ton of ways you can do it and each kind of low-impact cardio training has its own perks. Here are a few ideas.
Types of Low Impact Cardio Workouts
- Stationary bike workout: Of the 10 best calorie-burning exercises, riding a steady-state stationary bike is number seven, which is not bad considering most of the workouts above it on the list are high-impact. You can burn 498–738 calories/hour when you’re pedalling at a vigorous pace.
- Cycling intervals: By adding high-intensity intervals to a steady-state or low-intensity stationary bike workout, you’ll turn it into an anaerobic exercise, which means you’ll continue burning calories at an elevated rate even after you stop pedalling. You could burn an average of 568–841 calories/hour.
- Rowing: A high-intensity rowing workout is a low-impact way to rev your heart rate big time. But even a steady-state basic rowing machine workout will get you gains. (It’s also one of the best cardio workouts for burning calories.) You can burn 481–713 calories/hour by keeping your stroke rate at 150 watts, which the machine can help you keep tabs on, FYI.
- Climbing stairs: There’s a reason Kim Kardashian’s trainer Melissa Alcantara had her hop on a Stairmaster (wearing ankle weights) during an intense cardio workout the reality TV star recently shared on her Instagram. Climbing stairs is another one of the best cardio exercises you can do to burn calories, upwards of almost 700 calories per hour when your clearing 77 steps per minute.
- Hiking: Burn calories while breathing in some fresh air and enjoying the scenery? Yes, please. Hitting the trails burns approximately 440 calories per hour (for an 72-kilo person), according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Aqua aerobics: Whether your cycling, strength training, or doing plyometrics in the water, the H2O takes the impact out of your joint without killing your calorie buzz. You can burn about 400 calories per hour working out in the water.
- Swimming: There’s a reason people refer to swimming as running in water. “It will definitely have your heart rate going,” says German. For example, an 72-kilo person could burn 423 calories per hour swimming at a low to moderate pace — more if they opted for a faster stroke rate, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Low-Impact Strength Training: Low-impact cardio doesn’t always require finding the nearest pool or pair of battle ropes. You can workout right from home with this low-impact cardio workout designed by Melody Davi. All you really need is a mat and a resistance band. The circuit consists of compound exercises like power knee jabs, squats, and speed jabs that that target the whole body.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com