Low-Impact Cardio Workout Tips
When it comes to saving those joints, protecting those tendons and trying to reduce the overall wear and tear on your body, going low impact in your exercise routine can make a lot of good sense. At this point, I think it’s just about unanimous that all personal trainers would agree to dedicate a certain amount of your workout time each week to cardio rather than just 100% weight training. Cardio is a spectacular way to burn fat, slim down and stress your body in a way that weights alone cannot.
The issue with cardio is that when most folks hear the word, they immediately pull out their running shoes and hit the pavement. Running can add a serious amount of shock to your joints as well as your back and may not be the best way to go for most folks that are just looking to burn some additional calories and step up their endurance. It’s usually the knees, the ankles and even the lower back that absorbs most of the jolt from running and can leave us with mild to severe pain that quickly gets us falling off from our workout routine.
Biking is a great way to get your heart rate up for sustained periods of time and will be much easier than running on your body. With any kind of workout program, we all know the importance of mixing up our workouts and keeping our body from getting used to a set routine.
There’s generally one of two things that happen in a set routine.
1) once we reach a certain plateau with time, speed or the weight being lifted that we just maintain this level of endurance and strength and don’t put in the extra energy or effort to push through our current levels, or 2)
2) we continue to put in the same amount of intensity into workouts but since we’re not changing up the routine we set fewer and less results week in and week out. What I like about biking, is having the control over the gears to offer flexibility into the workout, I can go for endurance one day by riding in lower gears, taking fewer hills and going for a longer ride. Other days, I can go for strength by pushing into higher gears and taking on more hills. The same is true for an exercise bike, actually offering more flexibility than even a real bike – but I like to get outside, taken in the weather and the ever-changing landscape.
To often we start out a new workout regiment with a head of steam and a desire to see results very quickly and most times this doesn’t matter whether we’re eighteen or forty-five – we still have the same invincible mentality and expect our bodies to quickly respond with results while experiencing little to no injuries.
This sounds well and good but can be a recipe for disaster with high impact cardio exercises like running, not to mention the extra stress and strain of weight lifting mixed in with running. Some of the best leg exercises are full-body exercises like lunges and squats.
These are fantastic exercises that will also strengthen your core muscles, but if your form starts to waiver as you strain, you can be opening yourself up to injuries that will only be exasperated by throwing in a few runs each week. Many will turn to the treadmill and talk about how much less impact there is with the ‘give’ and ‘bounce’ of the platform, but I’m still a firm believer that biking is much safer and besides… I would rather struggle up a hill on a bike and then get to really enjoy a downhill as opposed to running where I dread both the uphill as well as the downhill. Long story short, get on your bike – work through different gearing, work up a sweat and have a blast!