7 Low Impact Workouts That Are Still Super Effective

Looking for a workout that's gentle on your joints but will still get you sweaty?

low impact workout, exercise, fitness
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Recently, after years of refusal, I finally bought my first pair of Birkenstocks. Now, it’s not that I really had anything against the ridiculously comfortable sandals. But considering they’ve been a mainstay in the chic fashion crowds for a few years now, I didn’t want to be the person who bought them just because they were ‘cool.’ But a few months ago, I noticed my knees started feeling a little creaky when I walked up and down stairs. Whether you blame it on lifting weights, dance classes or my flat feet, it was official — at 25 I was now a person who  sought out Birkies for my ‘bad knees.’

I’m not alone, either. Research shows that as many as 1 in 3 young adults experience knee pain at one point or another. It’s can be caused by things like wearing high heels or unsupportive shoes, muscle imbalances or carrying excess weight. But whatever the cause, your doc is likely to tell you to to avoid high impact exercises that are rough on the legs, like running and plyometrics. But what’s girl to do when your knees are giving you grief, but you want to stay fit? Luckily, there are plenty of low intensity styles of exercise that will still allow you to work up a decent sweat. Here are some of our faves:

1. Pilates

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Pilates is one of those things that is actually a lot harder than it looks. It may be quite slow and controlled, but when done regularly it can work wonders for those tricky-to-tone spots, like your arms and inner thighs! It also happens to be amazing core workout and great for flexibility, which in turn may actually help to strengthen your knees. Roll out your mat and try one these at home pilates workouts, or head to a nearby studio.

2. Swimming

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Swimming is quite possibly the best low impact workout you can do. Thanks to the buoyancy of the water, there’s pretty much zero impact on your joints. Not only is it a super efficient cardiovascular exercise, the resistance of the water is also great for strengthening your muscles. Make the most of the last few weeks of summer and visit your local pool (or the ocean, if you’re up for it) for some laps!

3. Yoga

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It’s no secret that we love our yoga here at Sporteluxe. Not only is it amazing for getting your zen on, it’s great for flexibility and strengthening your muscles (and, of course, your core). It also happens to be a fantastic low impact workout! Depending on what type you do, you can also get quite sweaty doing it. To find out about the different types and find the right one for you, check out this article.

4. TRX

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The TRX is definitely one of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment out there. Basically, as long as you have one of these bad boys and something to attach it to (like a doorframe), you can do a low impact resistance workout that will get your blood pumping and your muscles firing. Not sure what to do with it? Gyms like Fitness First and boutique studios like Flow Athletic offer guided classes.

5. Rowing

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While the rower used to sit at the back of gyms gathering dust, it’s had a bit of a resurgence lately — thanks to rowing studios popping up around the country. Clocking up kms on the machine will work your arms, legs, back and core while having minimal impact on your joints.

6. Cycling

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Believe it or not, cycling is actually a low impact exercise. However, it’s important to make sure your bike is adjusting correctly for you to minimise your risk of injury. Whether you take your bike out into the great outdoors, head to a spin class (or do one from the comfort of your own home), cycling is an amazing way to get your cardio hit while looking after your joints.

7. Barre

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Want to work on your booty and legs, but worried about the impact weighted squats while have on your knees? We’ve got one word for you: barre. The workout style is a fusion of dance, pilates, yoga and resistance training and WOW, is it challenging. But it also happens to be a lot of fun, too. Check out this article to find out how to burn more calories while you do it!

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Emma Norris
A true believer in balance, Emma is just as passionate about pizza as she is about pull-ups. When she’s not writing, she loves strength training, visiting new cafes and trying out new fitness classes. Having lived in Ireland and Canada, Emma was bitten by the travel bug at a young age. She loves nothing more than visiting new destinations and experiencing different cultures. Emma grew up (and currently lives) near the beautiful Coogee Beach and is happiest when she’s near a body of water. She started her career in magazines and has recently made the exciting transition to the digital world.