When it comes to staying fit, low-impact exercises can generate high-impact results. Low-impact exercise consists of activities that don’t involve a significant amount of force being exerted on the joints but still better your circulation, improve your flexibility, strengthen your muscles, lungs, and heart, all while boosting your mood. This summer, try one (or all!) of the outdoor workouts below to get your blood pumping without over-stressing your body. Your joints will thank you.
- Walking. By far the most popular low-impact exercise, walking is always accessible and cost-free; just lace up your favorite pair of walking shoes and put one foot in front of the other. If taking a leisurely stroll seems too easy, there are many ways you can up the intensity; hit a hill-filled neighborhood, walk at a brisk pace, or hold hand weights to elevate your heart rate.
- Kayaking. If there is one thing we have plenty of in the Northwest, it’s water. Head to the nearest lake or the Sound, grab a kayak, and get paddling. When using proper form, kayaking targets your arms, back, and core, and can burn up to 400 calories per hour. The best part? The views from your kayak are guaranteed to be incredible.
- Yoga. Who says yoga has to be done in a studio? Taking your practice outside this summer may be just the thing you need to breathe new life into your poses. Limbering up with outdoor yoga is not just a great workout – it is rejuvenating, relaxing, and may be the stress antidote you have been searching for.
- Biking. The physical and mental health benefits of biking are almost as endless as the scenic routes available to explore in the Pacific Northwest. Aside from being an effective way to work up a sweat, outdoor cycling is an efficient and environmentally friendly form of transportation. It is important to note that using a properly fitted bike is essential. Otherwise, cycling could cause unnecessary strain on your joints.
- Golfing. Golf is not strictly for the pros and the retired. Take a trip to the fairway for a great, gentle-on-the-joints workout that is suitable for all ages. Golfing helps with balance, strength, and flexibility; plus, it’s fun! If you are interested in getting some additional cardio in, skip the golf cart and walk the course instead.
- Swimming. If you are searching for a low-impact exercise that delivers considerable cardiovascular perks and sculpts your entire body, consider swimming. Water is nearly 800 times denser than air, so while swimming is the ultimate full-body workout, it is anything but easy. If swimming laps gets too repetitive for you, a water aerobics class can be an enjoyable way to mix things up.
- Gardening. Good news, green thumbs! Your love for gardening is more than just a hobby – it’s an excellent low-impact exercise that provides endurance, flexibility, and strength benefits – similar to cardio or lifting weights. Some gardening activities, such as raking and watering, can burn between 150-300 calories in only 30 minutes.
Interested in more low-impact outdoor activity recommendations? At ProOrtho, our orthopedic physicians offer the widest spectrum of surgical and non-surgical options paired with the most advanced technologies available. Specializing in sports medicine, pain management, and more, we are dedicated to improving your quality of life with comprehensive, compassionate, and exceptional orthopedic services.