Low-intensity workouts are great for beginners and athletes, alike. They’re typically less intense than other types of exercise, which makes them easier on your body, and they can help you burn more calories per day than high-intensity workouts.
Low intensity workouts focus on building endurance and strength through longer periods of activity. You can do this by performing exercises like walking or jogging at a steady pace for longer periods of time. These types of exercises will help you improve your cardiovascular health as well as build muscle tone in your legs and core area.
Right here on Buy and Slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on low-intensity exercises for overweight beginners, best low impact cardio, low impact workout benefits, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.
Best Low Intensity Workout For Weight Loss
As you age, you may notice that higher-intensity workouts are harder on your body and leave you in pain. Incorporating low-intensity cardio workouts as you age is absolutely something to embrace, and definitely not feel guilty about.
After all, staying fit is more about finding a form of exercise you enjoy enough to be consistent with than feeling like you need to always “punish” your body with hardcore workouts.
The truth is, though, that everyone can benefit from low-intensity cardio workouts, no matter what stage of life you’re in. If you get in a hardcore HIIT workout every day we applaud you, however, you need to give your body a break no matter your age. You can’t put your body through the same type of rigorous workouts day in and day out—it will start to crave a different form of movement.
An indoor walking workout, a long walk with friends, a bike ride on a sunny day, or time spent on the elliptical at a steady pace are all great workouts that are less intense but still burn calories, get your heart pumping, and help you stay physically fit.
So whether you’re dealing with the aches and pains of aging, recovering from an illness, or helping your muscles recover in between more intense workouts, consider adding a low-intensity workout or two into your weekly routine.
What is Low-Intensity Exercise?
Low-Intensity Steady State exercise calls for 30-60 minutes spent at the fat-burning rate of 60% of the maximal heart-rate effort. At this level of intensity, you can work out for longer periods of time and build endurance—not necessarily raw strength. Think: a long walk or bike ride, using the elliptical or rowing machine at the gym, etc.
Consider LISS workouts to be the opposite of HIIT workouts. During HIIT, your aim is to get your heart pumping and your body working hard. You are pushing yourself to the limits with short bursts of all-out effort followed by brief periods of rest.
Benefits of Low-Intensity Workouts
Yes, higher intensity workouts will typically burn more calories, but less intense forms of exercise do still burn calories and fat. While we’re not claiming that a daily 30-minute walk will give you six-pack abs (you need to build muscle and mix it up to lose weight and carve out your muscles), less-intense workouts do burn fat—especially the longer you spend doing them. Low-intensity cardio has tons of other great benefits, too! Here are just a few:
- Aids in fat burning and fat loss
- Improves cardiovascular function
- Builds muscular endurance — through a high number of repetitions at a low resistance
- Boosts circulation
- Improves mood
- Appropriate for all fitness levels
- Great for recovery – think day after a difficult workout
Many types of low-intensity cardio workouts can also be done anytime, anywhere. From long walks to bike rides and everything in between, they’re low maintenance and often give you a chance to reconnect with nature and find some joy in what you’re doing.
Low-intensity exercise won’t necessarily build raw strength or turn you into a calorie-burning machine like a HIIT workout would—but it still burns calories, builds endurance, and benefits your body in a host of other ways.
We hope you’re starting to see that less intense forms of exercise are nothing to feel guilty about; on the contrary, it’s a great way to get a workout in if your body needs a break, or you simply can’t do a more intense workout due to your age, an injury, or even preference.
Why Indoor Walking is One of the Best Cardio Workouts
Low impact cardio is a great way to get the heart rate up while staying low impact on the joints. Try this 15 minute 1,500 step indoor walking workout with us in the comfort of your own home. Get your steps in, work up a sweat, and have fun while doing so!
Have you gotten your steps in for the day?
How many steps a day should we get it?
After all, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that we all get 10,000 steps in per day! And what if I told you there was a way to accomplish these 10,000 steps anytime, anywhere while having a whole lot of fun doing it?!
Now you can, in the comfort of your own home! All you need for an indoor walking workout is a comfortable pair of walking shoes and the motivation to click play with me and my team over at Get Healthy U TV! From 10 minutes, 15 minutes, all the way up to 5,000 step walking workout – we have it all ready for you to follow along with us!
What You Need to Know About Indoor Walking
Indoor walking, also known as marching or stepping, is the base move for any indoor walking workout. But prepare yourself because there is SO much more you can do!
Here are some fun variations that can making indoor walking fun while adding more steps to your step count:
- Side Steps
- Step Touches
- Front Kicks
- Glute Squeezes (hamstring curls)
- Knee Lifts
You may even get the option to add your own flare of arm movements along the way! The more you move, the more you pick up your feet, the higher the intensity which burns more calories!
And the best part about any indoor walking workout is that while you move and sweat, everything is low impact on the joints. So let’s get moving and stepping together and have some fun along the way with our low-intensity cardio workouts on Get Healthy U TV!
Here are our favorite low-intensity workouts to incorporate into your weekly routine:
10-Minute Beginner Indoor Workout
This fun, energizing walking workout is designed to get you started on your fitness journey and keep you going in the right direction! A brisk, invigorating power walk like this will burn fat, tone your legs and buns and promote good posture as you learn to keep your abs engaged. With easy-to-follow, low-impact walking moves, Chris will motivate you and keep you moving the entire time. Before you know it, you’ll accomplish your steps for the day right in the comfort of your own home. Try this power walk workout for an overall leaner body and healthier heart.
This 15-minute power walk is at a pace of 4 mph with a basic walking step as your home base throughout the workout. With fun, upbeat music, Chris will move you through a variety of steps that are easy to follow but fun enough to keep you interested and make the time fly! There are no complicated steps or moves to learn in this power walk, just basic walking and simple moves that help you get in lots of steps and burn plenty of calories. Let your heart rate rise by lifting your knees and pressing your arms overhead. Keep your fat burn going by moving side-to-side or forward-and-back, but be assured you will always return to you home base walk to keep you right on track.
WHY CHOOSE THIS WORKOUT?
By now everyone knows the benefits of walking. This low-impact exercise strengthens your heart, burns calories–specifically from fat–and strengthens your lower body muscles. In this power walk workout you have the added bonus of doing it any time, in any weather, right in your own home.
The Hidden Benefit of Low-Intensity Workouts
While we’ve talked at length about the physical benefits of less intense workouts, there’s one more thing you should consider: the mental benefits. So often, we think we have to push our bodies to the limits. But the “no pain, no gain” mentality isn’t always healthy.
A less intense workout every now and then is not only physically restorative but mentally restorative, too, helping you reconnect with your body in a form of movement that feels more natural to you. Working out to your limits each and every day can lead to burnout and irritability, and although those HIIT classes can be addictive, it pays to slow things down and give your body a less intense form of movement.
At the end of the day, you don’t need to feel guilty when you “just take a walk.” LISS exercise can and should be a big part of your workout plan. A nice long walk, a bike ride in your neighborhood, an elliptical workout, paddle boarding, or an easy, fun dance class that makes you happy are all wonderful low-intensity steady-state options.
When it comes to getting consistent exercise, the most important thing is to find workouts that work for you. No matter what stage of life you’re in, exercise doesn’t always have to be intense or painful to be beneficial.
Embrace less-intense workouts and you’ll come to appreciate exercise for what it is: a lifestyle—not a punishment, a fad, or something that always has to leave you feeling sore the next day.
More Low-Intensity Cardio Workouts
There are more great ways to get a low-intensity cardio workout in—the possibilities are endless! Whether you’re reconnecting with the great outdoors or want to get your workout in at the gym, here are some additional low-intensity workout options:
- Step Aerobics
- Elliptical Workouts
- Rowing Machine
- Stand-Up Paddle-Boarding
- Water Aerobics
Low-intensity Exercises For Overweight Beginners
Working out as an overweight person may be challenging for a beginner. However, it is essential to make a smooth transition and make working out as easy as possible. If you are obese, your weight might add more pressure and strain to your bones, joints, and muscles. Hence, it is integral to follow a workout routine that does not hinder the health of your body internally.
If you are overweight, various mistakes while exercising can do more harm than good. It is important to build flexibility as well as strength in your joints and muscles. In this article, we discuss some effective yet low-impact exercises you should follow if you are overweight.
Here are 7 easy low-impact exercises for overweight beginners:
If you are a beginner, walking is probably the best way to incorporate physical activity into your routine. Walking is extremely low-impact and promotes weight loss. It might also boost blood circulation, increase lung capacity, and promote other functions in the body which might further make you lose weight faster.
2. Jog don’t run
Running without gradually adding it to your routine might strain your joints and leg muscles. It is important to gradually increase your body’s elasticity and strength. Jogging is more effective in helping you lose weight than walking and is still low-intensity.
3. Stationary cycle
The stationary cycle is another great way to increase your body’s elasticity and strength without straining it. As stationary bikes can be stopped at one’s own convenience, it is a healthier alternative to bicycling.
4. Modified exercises
Another great way to make working out easy and transitional is to modify various popular exercises. Exercises such as push-ups, squats, leg lifts, etc. may be too straining or painful for an overweight beginner. We encourage you to try modified low-impact versions of these exercises and build up to the original versions over time.
Swimming is another great way to lose weight if you are overweight. Swimming may seem low-intensity but can help you lose weight fast. Swimming and water aerobics are great ways to lose weight as a beginner.
Dancing is another fun way to incorporate working out into your routine as a beginner. Dancing can be modified as per the convenience of the dancer and is very enjoyable. Dancing to beats and different rhythmical music can also boost the production of happy hormones which might further boost your energy levels.
Similar to dancing, yoga can also be modified as per your convenience. Yoga is also a low-intensity but high-impact workout regime that can help you lose weight quickly. Yoga has also been proven to better the functioning of various other tasks in the body. This might further fasten your weight loss journey.
In conclusion, the key to losing weight in a healthy way is weighing out all the factors. As an overweight beginner, it is ideal to slowly transition into a workout routine, going overboard or indulging in high-intensity workouts might make you prone to injuries and strains.
Building your flexibility and strength gradually can make working out fun and not straining. Besides this, we also encourage you to follow a diet rich in protein and other nutrients to ensure your body has enough energy to work out.
Low Impact Workout Benefits
As popular as plyometrics are — especially for home workouts — low-impact activities like swimming, cycling and weightlifting are often touted for their joint-friendly properties. But low-impact workouts have more to offer than just being easy on your joints — a lot more, according to fitness experts.
Here, they outline the less discussed advantages of incorporating low-impact workouts into your routine.
REDUCED RISK OF MOBILITY-RELATED INJURY
Aside from the reduced risk of joint issues, there are other ways low-impact workouts minimize your injury risk. “For high-impact exercises, you need more mobility than you might realize,” says Jill Brown, a certified functional strength coach. “If your ankles or hips don’t have good mobility, you’re more likely to get hurt trying to jump higher or go faster.”
LESS RECOVERY TIME
“High-impact workouts call for a significant amount of downtime to recover,” says Christa Dellebovi, a personal trainer and director of fitness and education at CLMBR. This can translate into more frequent sessions. “Low-impact exercise routines allow you to cut back on rest days while still being able to achieve benefits of regular exercise.”
INCREASED STABILITY AND BALANCE
“Lots of times with high-impact workouts or dynamic movements, you are moving so rapidly that the body does not have time to stabilize, and you’re more concerned with the performance of that movement than with the mechanics of the body,” says Michelle Houston, a certified personal trainer. “Lots of low-impact workouts emphasize slow, stationary or single-leg activities which allow you to take more time in a movement to really establish balance in the body.”
IT FOSTERS BETTER TECHNIQUE AND ALIGNMENT
Because low-impact movements are often slower-paced, you have more time to focus on the mind-muscle connection. This leads to better results from your workouts in the long term, among other advantages: “This is extremely beneficial when learning new exercises, so you don’t create poor muscle patterns that, over time, can cause additional strain on your joints and connective tissue,” says Samantha Parker, a certified personal trainer and yoga therapist.
INCREASED RANGE OF MOTION
You’re more likely to use your full range of motion in low-impact exercises as opposed to high-impact ones, which can help increase flexibility and strength, according to Alissa Tucker, AKT master trainer. “Going through your full range of motion is important to keep the optimal length and strength of your muscles and reduce muscle imbalances and potential injury. It also helps you raise your heart rate even if you’re not doing designated ‘cardio’ moves.”
MUSCULAR ENDURANCE GAINS
If you’re hoping to get stronger, low-impact workouts are a must. Compare a jump squat to a weighted squat, for example. “Faster movements can actually be easier, as momentum helps you ‘cheat’ with the force being generated,” Parker explains. “When you slow the exercises down, the muscles are forced to work for a longer duration.”
GREAT FOR BEGINNERS
“Low-impact workouts can feel ‘easier,’ which can increase self-esteem, fueling the fire in continuing to stay on track with your workouts,” Parker says. And, keep in mind: Just because you’re not drenched in sweat doesn’t mean you didn’t get a great workout.
OPTIMAL FOR BURNING BODY FAT
“Low-impact workouts can burn more body fat per session,” says Jason Kozma, a certified personal trainer. This is because high-impact workouts put the body into the anaerobic zone, where your heart rate will be higher, but you’re less likely to use fat as fuel. You’re more efficient at burning fat at a lower heart rate. “People often read the value of a workout according to how exhausted they are at the end of the workout, but this often doesn’t translate directly into the desired results,” Kozma adds.
BETTER FOR YOUR FLOORS … AND NEIGHBORS
“Given the pandemic, a lot of workouts are being done at home,” notes Kevin Munoz, owner of PEAK PT. “High impact is not only high impact on your joints but also on your floors!” Most people don’t have gym flooring in their homes, so both your joints and your house take a beating, Munoz says. If you have downstairs neighbors, high-impact movements might also elicit complaints. If you’re looking to work out at home and keep things quiet, try this 10-move full-body workout.
“We all have days when we feel less than 100% or the idea of jumping around does not sound appealing,” Houston points out. Low-impact workouts are perfect for these days, as you can still get a workout in, no jumping required. More often than not, when you step outside for a walk to go just a few blocks because something is better than nothing, you end up going longer — and definitely not regretting it.
“Low-impact workouts cause less stress to the body both physically and mentally, Brown says. “We’re in a very stressful time in history, and while you might think you want to bust your butt to work off stress, lots of high-impact workouts can actually have the opposite effect and raise your cortisol (stress hormone) levels,” she explains. Low-impact workouts, on the other hand, can reduce stress levels, which is a key step in working toward virtually every health and fitness goal.
The Best Low-Impact Exercises for Weight Loss
When looking for a low-impact exercise that can help you reach your weight-loss goals, opt for activities that allow you to ramp up the intensity and help build lean, metabolically active. That’ll help you burn more calories — and more body fat — faster.
Here are some of the best low-impact exercises for weight loss to try.
You may not think of them as cardio, but in addition to toning your muscles, many barre-inspired workouts can also torch plenty of calories and boost your metabolism! Ballet-inspired workouts that combine the use of light weights with sculpting moves done at a cardio pace can have you burning up to 650 calories per class, says Laurie Alfano, director of education for Xtend Barre, a barre program that incorporates cardio sequences before each sculpting circuit to increase calorie burn by as much as 20 percent.
Boost your burn: Using hand weights, resistance bands, or props like small balls while performing exercises can really amp up your calorie burn, Alfano says. Resistance of any sort “makes your heart work harder, exactly the way it would when you sprint during a typical jog,” she adds.
Cycling (indoors or out) is one of the best low-impact cardiovascular workouts that you can do, says Amy Dixon, a Schwinn master trainer and creator of the Breathless Body DVD series. “You will never put unnecessary pressure on your joints if you ride with the right amount of resistance,” she says. Find your sweet spot with the resistance when riding on an indoor bike (gear if outdoors), and pedal at the right revolutions per minute (RPM) to maximize your burn in the saddle, she says. Try 60 to 80 rpms for hilly terrain, 80 to 100 for flat roads, and 100 to 110 for sprints. Plan to pedal off, on average, about 600 to 750 calories an hour during your ride, she says.
Boost your burn: One of the best ways to increase your calorie burn on the bike is to use intervals that are constantly changing in both timing and type (hills, sprints, etc.) from ride to ride, Dixon says. For example, if you’ve been doing typical Tabata drills (20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest), try 40 seconds of all-out, breathless effort followed by 20 seconds of recovery, for 6 rounds. In between intervals, work on climbing powerfully at a moderate to hard intensity. You’ll definitely get the most out of your workouts, Dixon says.
Dancing around in water may seem a little silly, but it’s one serious calorie-torching (and refreshing) workout that’s also super entertaining! The water creates a safe, low-impact environment that’s easier on your knees, feet, and hips than hard dance floors, while also providing extra resistance during your moves—meaning those dance numbers provide both cardio and strength benefits, says Kim Truman, a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. Adding the sizzling energy of Zumba to water creates a low-impact, calorie-blasting combo (about 700 calories an hour) that offers plenty of freedom and fun, she says.
Boost your burn: Increase the speed of your steps, consciously engaging your core muscles and maintaining great posture, to maximize your burn. You can also add in more upper-body movement and continue to move in between songs (try marching or bouncing in place) instead of taking a break, Truman says. She also recommends wearing aqua shoes to help you move better, change direction faster, and protect your feet while you jam out in the pool.
Power yoga is an amazingly effective, low-impact way to stay strong and lean, says Ivy Larson, an ACSM-certified health and fitness specialist and creator of Clean Cuisine. “I credit power yoga with keeping me fit after I recovered from a major orthopedic surgery last year. Even though I couldn’t walk, I could still do yoga, and I stayed very strong, lean, and surprisingly fit,” she says.
Offering an average burn of about 400 calories an hour, power yoga is a total-body workout that strengthens, keeps your heart rate elevated, and increases oxygen uptake—all of which helps boost your burn, she says. “The reason power yoga is effective is because it uses a lot of oxygen (which burns calories), and instead of isolating small muscles, you use your entire body, which burns a lot calories and generates a lot of heat.”
Boost your burn: Try to avoid letting your mind wander and really concentrate on what you’re doing, Larson says. “Focus, breathe, and stay in the moment to really feel your muscles working.” Not only will you burn more calories by properly performing the exercise and engaging all the right muscles, you may also reduce your risk of injury due to your increased attention on form and alignment.
Rowing at a vigorous intensity not only offers a burn of about 600 calories an hour (similar to running), it’s also a total-body workout that really targets the core, says Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.
Boost your burn: Stay safe and keep your stroke effective by powering up from your lower body (not your arms), Matthews says. “Focus on pushing back with power from your legs and let the arms and back follow (meaning you should be hinging at your hips as you do so),” she explains. Maintaining proper posture (avoid rounding your back and neck forward) and powering up through the larger muscles in your legs can help translate to a bigger overall calorie burn and, more importantly, a safer rowing experience.
Walking is not only a fun, convenient, and cost-effective form of low-impact exercise, but research shows it can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol (LDL) and improve bone mineral density. Walking is also a proven weight maintenance tool—according to the National Weight Control Registry, it’s the most popular activity cited by people who’ve lost weight and kept it off long-term, Matthews says.
Boost your burn: Moving at a brisk pace on a firm surface burns about 350 calories an hour, but according to Matthews, there are various ways to boost your burn while walking! She recommends picking up the pace (ramping up from 4.0 to 4.5mph burns an extra 93 calories an hour), or walking slower on an incline (walking uphill at 3.5mph for one hour burns about 72 calories more than walking on a flat surface). Adding resistance can also help you torch more calories with every step. Try wearing a weighted vest (a vest is preferable to holding dumbbells or wearing ankle or wrist weights which can stress the joints) or using Nordic walking poles, Matthews says.
Injured or not, the total-body benefits and calorie burn of swimming (about 716 calories an hour) make it well worth seeking out a pool! “The resistance that the water provides makes movements more challenging, enabling your muscles to work hard while simultaneously reducing the impact forces on your joints,” Matthews says. “Plus, because this type of activity uses your entire body, you get a great bang for your buck—swimming improves your cardiorespiratory fitness while also strengthening everything from your arms and back to your core and legs.”
Boost your burn: Improve your caloric output by alternating between different strokes such as breaststroke (which burns the same number of calories as swimming freestyle) and/or butterfly (which burns an extra 72 calories in 60 minutes, compared to freestyle or breaststroke). And ensure the safety and effectiveness of each stroke by focusing on your form—make sure all five fingers dive under the water together with your palm facing down, she says. “If your thumb is entering the water first, you’re likely over rotating your shoulder, which can put you at risk for a shoulder strain.”
Prefer doing your cardio outdoors? Rollerblading (or inline skating) is a fun, low-impact option that allows you to torch some serious calories (about 860 in one hour) while soaking up some sun, Matthews says.
Boost your burn: Focus on spending more time skating and less time “gliding,” Matthews says. Interval training is a great way to do this. Try alternating periods of high-intensity “sprinting” (or skating as fast as you safely can) with an active recovery (skating at a moderate pace) with either a 1:1 (1 minute on, 1 minute off) or 1:2 (1 minute of hard effort, 2 minutes of recovery) work to rest ratio.