Today, more and more people are suffering from various conditions that root from lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, peripheral arterial diseases and many other cardiovascular and metabolic related diseases. Considering this growing situation, it is important to keep in mind the benefits of low impact aerobic exercises, proper diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Blaming it all on your genes will not help you after all. With proper diet and exercise, significant changes will likely be achieved such as lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and decreased overall body fat percentage. If you or one of your family members happens to suffer from obesity and other lifestyle related diseases, it’s about time to motivate yourself off the couch and get yourself moving with the help of low impact aerobics.
A Brief Background on Low Impact Aerobics
Low impact aerobics consist of rhythmic movements that target large muscle groups in the body. This type of aerobics consistently maintains balance with every movement by consistently having at least one foot on the ground at all times. The main purpose of this is to minimize stress on the joints, especially on the knees. In addition to that, these exercises also make you less prone to injury which could significantly harm your fitness and weight loss goals.
Low impact aerobics are suitable for people who are not capable or are contraindicated with performing high impact exercises or vigorous activities. These people include pregnant women, the elders, those who are currently recovering from injury, people who are beginners with aerobics and individuals who are very much vulnerable to knee and joint injuries such as obese people.
Types of Simple and Efficient Low Impact Aerobic Exercises
There are several simple exercises that can be considered among the significant lists of low impact aerobics. These are some of the best exercises you can perform at home, in the park or at the gym.
- Walking. Walking is a good start for your day and as a simple low impact aerobic exercise, it is probably one of the most convenient, since you can simply perform this exercise anywhere and even without equipment. You should start out by slowly pacing your strides for five minutes. Performing a warm up session activates your muscles, thereby promoting blood flow to the muscles and to the different parts of your body preparing you for what lies ahead with your workout. Then, after five minutes, you may progress to a brisk walk for ten minutes. It is advisable to perform this exercise for thirty minutes each day. You can also intensify the exercise by swaying your arms back and forth, while maintaining proper posture. Keeping track of your heart rate while you walk is essential to determine if your exerting the proper amount of energy to burn the amount of calories you desire; this can easily be done with a heart rate monitor. Many heart rate numbers include a pedometer so that you can track the number of steps you take.
- Swimming. Another low impact aerobic exercise is swimming. This form of aerobics is significantly beneficial for obese people. This is due to the decreased strain and pressure in the joints and knees as compared to jogging or running. In addition to that, it is also a great whole body exercise as it stimulates the legs, arms, back and the shoulders to move as a unit. It also helps in burning calories depending upon your exercise intensity as the pressure and the resistance caused by the water makes it more challenging for the body, thereby promoting more calories and fats to burn. It is recommended to start with a warm up session of ten minutes and thereafter maintaining the exercise for thirty minutes each day.
- Water exercises. In addition to the abovementioned swimming exercises, water exercises are also beneficial for people looking for low impact exercise options. Water walking, performing squats in the water, bicep curls and stretching are easier for the individual to perform while in the water. This is because of the buoyancy of the water which causes less pressure that will eventually decrease the gravitational pull to the spine. This results in less pain and a more comfortable exercise routine especially during stretching or walking in the water. Performing arm circles for the shoulders, triceps kickback and hip exercises are great exercises which cause less strain to the lower back. Exercises in the water are advisable for people who do not tolerate pain well that may be experienced while performing exercises on the floor or on the mat.
- Using the stationary bicycle. For those who don’t want to do it in the pavement, well, a stationary exercise bicycle is yours for the taking. The main benefit that the stationary bicycles provide is that you can adjust the intensity as well as the resistance of the bike against every pedal you take. Of course, any beginner seeking weight loss and fitness must start with an easy intensity on the stationary bikes. There are also group classes you can take at your local gym. These classes are usually on spin flywheel bikes; as they simulate riding an actual speed bike on the road. Another convenient feature that you will have with stationary exercise bikes is that there are upright and reclining (recumbent) types of bikes that you can chose from. Upright stationary bikes help develop the core and your upper and lower body stability. The recumbent stationary bikes are for low impact intensity while maintaining the stress on your quads and core for maximal fitness.
- Elliptical machines. These machines are probably the most popular machines in gyms all over the world today. These machines utilize an oval shaped movement as they perform strides on pedals suspended above the ground. These machines feature motors which aids with every smooth movement making it less straining than walking or brisk walking. Elliptical machines benefit both the upper and lower body as users can pull or push the handles to benefit the arms while maintaining the pedaling motion for the lower body. The resistance provided by the machine also provides additional challenge as your muscles work harder with every motion.
Benefits of Low Impact Aerobics
Aside from being fit, there are countless benefits that you can reap with low impact aerobic exercises.
- Strengthening. Probably one of the major benefits of low impact aerobic exercises is that your muscles tend to become strengthened due to the exercises, making them more functional than ever. Philosophical lessons state that which is used remains sharp and better whereas which is not used decreases in function and even shrinks in size. This philosophy is greatly significant with your body as well as with how your muscles perform. Whether you walk the stairs with a bag in your arms, carry the baby, throw the trash, reach up for your box of oatmeal or even when you wipe the dust off your shoes, these simple daily activities are much easier when you are flexible, fit and are feeling no stress on your back or your knees. Exercise also makes you stronger making daily activities much easier to perform.
- Decrease Body Fat. As you build muscle, your body fat also decreases. A significant addition in muscle size and strength promotes decrease in body fat percentage. Of course, with less body fat means decreased chances of developing cardiovascular diseases.
- Creation of Endorphins. Exercise, especially low impact aerobic exercises, significantly improves your mood and makes you less susceptible to pain. This is because of the production of the brain chemical called endorphins which is also termed as the body’s natural pain killer.
- State of Mind. Aerobic exercises also uplift your mood that will in turn decrease depressive states, which are very common among people with lower back pain or injury.
- Decease Joint Pain. Losing weight with the low impact aerobic exercises helps eliminate joint pain and pressure felt on the knees. Because obese people have a higher body mass and weight, the pressure on the knees causes knee pain and injury. Losing weight will definitely release the pressure of the knees, promoting less pain and a more fluid mobility for the joints and the overall body as well.
- Builds Self Esteem. Exercising your entire body provides confidence. With less visible love handles, less fat and a more toned body, it will definitely boost your confidence for the beach season.
- Increase Social Circles. Attending classes for your aerobic exercises extends your social relations. Going out for a walk, attending a gym class or running with a group of people allows you the opportunity to socialize and meet new friends. They may also be able to help and encourage you with your goals as you can share your fitness tips to them and vice versa.
Essential Tips Before You Go and Sweat It Out
Before you go and sweat it out in the gym, it is important to keep in mind these tips before your next session.
- Proper Fitness Attire. It is important to wear proper attire and protective gear. Wear light clothing that allows you to move freely and not restricting. Restrictive clothing causes you to breathe harder and may compromise movement. Of course, you also want to avoid the embarrassment of your restrictive or too tight of clothing to tear in places you don’t even want to imagine.
- Posture. Always maintain proper posture when you exercise to prevent injury.
- Physical Trainer. It is essential to consult a trainer whenever you do not know how to use a machine or perform an exercise.
- Breathing. Always maintain proper breathing with every repetition to avoid easy fatigability during sessions and to promote oxygen and blood circulation to the body.
Low impact aerobic exercises are simple, less straining and convenient exercises that you can perform in the gym or even at home. But before you sweat it out for the first time, it is vital to visit a physician for a pre-exercise assessment in order to rule out any conditions that may be contraindicated with aerobics. Always remember to warm up, start at a slow pace and be constantly involved with healthy activities to promote weight loss, wellness and to achieve your fitness goals.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”] Jordann Campose is a fitness enthusiast and instructor. He currently works as a health care professional with part time work as a fitness instructor and weight loss teacher for people seeking results that will help boost their confidence and strengthen their whole being.[/stextbox]