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If you have the desire to get active to lose weight, but fear the painful repercussions of high-impact exercise, then a low-impact workout is what you need. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. You can burn calories through a number of low-impact workouts to help you reach your weight-loss goals. Remember to maintain a healthy diet to help you succeed.
If you are just starting out on the road to fitness, then any additional activity is a positive step toward burning calories. The Mayo Clinic recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. Burn calories every weekday with a 30-minute walk. If you need to burn more calories to offset what you eat, increase the amount of time you walk. Buy a pedometer to keep track and set goals. As with any exercise, restricting your caloric intake is just as essential for a weight loss program as it is to increase your activity.
If you are a more advanced athlete looking to simply reduce the joint-damage of high-impact exercise with a low-impact alternative, then cycling could be ideal for you. A 145-pound person will burn more than 300 calories over the course of 35 minutes of bicycling. And all this reward comes to you without any knee-destroying jumping up and down. You can make this even easier on your body by doing an indoor cycling class to avoid any potholes street cycling would otherwise subject you to.
Burn calories throughout your entire body with swimming workouts. Keeping yourself afloat works your core, and propelling yourself through the water challenges your arms and legs, at no cost to your joints. Try switching between slower and faster laps for 20 to 30 minutes every workout to turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
If you are avoiding stressing your lower body -- for instance, if you have an injury -- then rowing is a great exercise that burns calories without impacting your lower half. You can use the ocean, a lake or a machine in the gym. Either way, you'll be maximizing your core, back and arm muscles in a fantastic low-impact workout. Spike your metabolism by using interval training. After five minutes of warming up, do fast strokes for one minute, and then slow strokes for two minutes, alternating for a total of 20 to 30 minutes. Your body will continue to burn fat the rest of the day.
Body-weight workouts, like dance, yoga and Pilates, are fantastic for improving strength, which also aids weight loss. Ballet-inspired workouts are great for toning, and usually require targeted small movements that are low impact. Yoga challenges you to use your strength to hold your body in various still poses. Pilates is similar to Yoga, but with more emphasis on core strength. The movements for all three disciplines require small motions and stillness, making these ideal for avoiding harsh high-impact moves.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people with bigger, stronger muscles burn more calories than those with weaker muscles. Add weightlifting into your weekly routine to build calorie-feasting muscles with low-impact moves. One set of 12 repetitions -- with a weight heavy enough to make the last repetition extremely difficult -- is all you need for each muscle group, twice a week.