All those are grueling sessions…
Some of those may be pretty exhausting and not suited for beginners.
So, what can people with no prior experience do?
Well, that’s right- Low impact cardio.
Thinking about high intensity cardio sessions, we can say that they put a significant stress on our body…
… the central nervous system, the heart and especially the joints.
If you want to spare those, until you adapt and are able to up the intensity, then low impact cardio is your best choice.
With low impact cardio you will logically impact your body less and prevent side effects like trauma, all while gaining all the benefits of cardio.
“If you have arthritis, participating in joint-friendly physical activity can improve your arthritis pain, function, mood, and quality of life. Joint-friendly physical activities are low-impact, which means they put less stress on the body, reducing the risk of injury.” Centers for disease control and prevention (1)
Cardio- The commonly unknown facts
We cannot take a single approach to training and apply it to everyone.
There is a difference between men and women and their individual factors- Weight, age, training experience, etc.
Low impact cardio is perfect for elderly people or as we said, beginners with little to none prior experience
Low impact cardio is a perfect tool when it comes to hindering the aging process.
Of course, that can happen with correct application of this type of training.
Rest assured that low-intensity cardio training is one of the KEYS when it comes to maintaining good health and increasing longevity. I
It is applicable for basically anyone!
Higher levels of intensity, such as high intensity interval training sessions, are better for younger athletes, who can handle that type of tension with no after effects.
Means of doing low-impact cardio
Alright, now we know that we won’t be sprinting, we won’t be running up steep hills or anything that will get our heart racing.
We’re looking for consistent, low to moderately paced cardio activity.
Our top pics for low-impact cardio are:
- Elliptical cross-trainer
If you are not into running outside, using the elliptical in your local gym would work just as fine!
This machine will help you burn a lot of calories and maintain good joint movement and pace.
Perfect for beginners!
- Running in nature
Now, running in nature is highly recommended, as opposed to running on hard surface like asphalt.
Especially if you are looking to reduce the impact on the joints, your go-to place is the forest or the nearby park, as hard surface will definitely lead to a bigger impact on your joints.
Especially if your running form is not the best. So, avoid asphalt and go for dirt and grass!
Due to the fact you drop a good percentage of your weight on the bike’s frame, while sitting, cycling is a great way to reduce the stress on your knees, ankles and hips.
Furthermore, you can use it on harder surface, as compared to running. Perfect choice for low-impact cardio activity!
One of the perfect choices for both the cardiovascular system and the skeletal-muscle apparatus.
Many physical therapists recommend swimming as a rehabilitation therapy, as, if done correctly, it can literally re-adjust your skeleton.
Swimming correctly, you will feel how you’re freely gliding through the water.
Usually, many people don’t have access to running tracks or natural surfaces, which makes the treadmill a last resort.
We generally recommend doing cardio in nature, as to make use of the better, fresher air there.
However, if that is not possible, the treadmill is your go-to choice!
Low-impact cardio and fat burning
As you should know by now, the key factor for fat loss is your approach to nutrition.
What this means is that whether you’re doing high intensity or low impact cardio, you can’t compensate for bad nutrition habits.
Most of all, if your goal is fat loss, you have to subject yourself to a consistent energy (caloric) deficit, so that the body can start getting rid of the fat (energy) reserves.
Also, the choice of macronutrients is important.
You have to provide your body with a good ratio of all 3 macronutrients: Protein, fats and carbs, without reaching any extremes.
Generally, it is good to know that men burn more calories due to their bigger amounts of muscle mass, which basically means women have to exercise a tad bit more than men.
Implementing the cardio workouts
If you don’t have any specific goals for performance and looks, but are rather oriented towards maintaining a healthier inner environment of the organism, you can follow these guidelines:
- Include full-body resistance training 3-4 times a week
Doing full body resistance training every other day, will help you maintain the tissue and function of your muscles, leading to a better overall development and functionality, in terms of strength and endurance.
On top of that, a toned musculature that does work, looks better!
Whether you’re a man or a woman, it is good to include such workouts, regardless of age and goals.
Ultimately, they will help you avoid looking sloppy.
- Avoid doing cardio before the resistance workouts
We’ve mentioned it in other articles, but it would also be important to do so here: Doing cardio before resistance training will result in under-performing during the resistance training session.
That is due to the fact that cardio burns up the muscles’ fuel, namely the glycogen, which is a stored form of blood glucose.
That’s exactly why we recommend doing your low-impact cardio AFTER a workout or on your rest days, in between the separate resistance training sessions.
This way, you’ll get the best out of both types of training and will allow your muscles to function optimally.
- Length of cardio sessions
We generally recommend at least one hour (total) per week.
This amount of time will leverage you towards gaining benefits of the cardio sessions.
So, doing 3-4 cardio sessions per week, each about 15 to 25 minutes, will definitely be enough help you achieve such benefits.
On the other hand, the full body resistance training sessions generally last ~40-60 minutes, as they include 1 or max 2 exercises per muscle group.
Cardio has a lot of benefits, but many people need to tweak it in order to avoid excessive stress on their joints.
If you are one of those people, then a low-pace is your perfect preventative measure for injuries and wear & tear.
Whether you choose swimming, low-intensity running, or simply a cardio machine in your local gym, you won’t be in a mistake, as long as you keep the form correct and intensity low.
Enjoy the health benefits of this type of cardio and let us know how it has worked for you.