In the era of social media and in the season of New Year’s resolutions (although by February, 80% of people have dropped their resolutions!), we are often fed the idea that we need lots of equipment, gyms, and complex fitness routines to reach a healthy weight and stay fit. Often overlooked are low-impact exercises and those that don’t require any (or minimal) equipment and use our own body weight. We’re a big fan of routines that require less stuff, but still challenge the body to stay strong and agile. Complex routines that are difficult to follow or understand only open the window for injuries. Best plan: keep it simple.
We’ve shared several “gliding” exercises that can be completed using washcloths, socks, or exercise gliders (seen below). Exercises don’t have to be treacherous and high-impact to benefit your body. In fact, many fitness professionals and medical providers argue that low-impact, but regular exercise, benefits your body more. There is less wear and tear on your joints, less potential for injury, but still plenty of potential to gain strength and get in shape.
“There’s this misconception that low-impact exercise isn’t effective for improving or maintaining fitness,” shares Raymond Peralta, DPT, an orthopedic physical therapist at NYU Langone Health. “But if the intensity is correct, it is possible to get in shape and lose body fat with low-impact exercise.”
Another way to think about low-impact exercises: Movements that have at least one foot on the ground at all times will have a lower impact than exercises where both feet come off the ground, Peralta says. And exercises where both feet stay on the ground will have the lowest impact of all. Some examples (apart from the gliding exercises we’ve shared) include swimming, strength training (with or without equipment), and yoga.
Here’s a recap of the exercises we’ve shared so far; we’ll continue the series next week. In the meantime, give these a try!
Please speak to your provider before starting any new exercise regimen.
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