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If you’re looking to improve your overall health, lungs, and heart, low-impact cardio exercise is a great way to start. Not only is it low impact, but it’s also a great way to save time because you can do it at home without leaving your house.

This article will outline the best low-impact cardio exercises for you to try out.

What Is Low-Impact Cardio Exercise?

You have to lift one foot off the ground for low-impact cardio exercises. Because of the reduced force of impact, these workouts are easier on muscles and joints. But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a vigorous workout from low-impact activities.

Workouts like Yoga and Pilates can be tough. As well as, lifting weights can raise your heart rate and burn calories without putting unnecessary stress on your joints. Whether swimming or spinning, you can do it at a relaxed pace or high speed.

You should base the intensity of your exercise routine on your heart rate.

What Are Examples Of Low-Impact Cardio Exercise?


In addition to running, swimming is a great low-impact cardio exercise. Swimming is a great full-body workout since it increases cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength.

Performing cardio exercise in the water has many health benefits. Including less impact on the spine due to the combination of resistance and buoyancy. If you’re worried about hurting yourself during exercise, you could try water aerobics or swim instead.

Swimming is the best low-impact cardio because it doesn’t strain the joints; anyone can do it. Sometimes, a doctor may recommend a class or program that teaches specific water workouts or swim strokes.


This activity is the easiest and safest way to get started with cardio. It’s no secret that walking is an excellent low-intensity cardiovascular exercise. It’s suitable for people of all fitness levels because you can set the pace and intensity. You can do it practically anywhere and don’t need any special equipment.

Regular walking is different from exercise walking because it’s faster and increases your heart rate. Walking for exercise is preferable to jogging since it is easier on the spine.

Take a more hilly path or run faster to raise the difficulty. Walking with a friend can be a great way to get in shape while having fun.


Silhouette of a man going cycling.

The low-impact nature of cycling makes it a fantastic cardio workout. You can use a stationary bicycle indoors at home or in the gym or ride your bike outside.

Cycling is also a great way to sneak extra exercise into your day because you can use it as a mode of transportation. You could ride your bike to and from work and errands like the grocery store.

The faster you go, the greater your heart rate gets.

Low-Impact Spinning (Stationary Cycling)

As the name suggests, indoor cycling or spinning is usually done inside, so you don’t have to worry about the weather. On a stationary bike, you pedal like you’re riding a bike.

Spinning classes feature stationary bikes and an instructor to help you get in shape. They frequently offer several levels of intensity and training options to suit cyclists of all skill levels. You can choose between upright bikes that require you to lean forward or recumbent bikes that allow you to recline your back and get some support as you exercise.

You can get the same cardio benefits from cycling on a stationary bike instead of worrying about the jolting impact of riding on uneven ground.

Low-Impact Yoga

Depending on your practice, yoga can be a great way to get a cardiovascular workout without putting a ton of pressure on your joints.

Some of yoga’s many advantages are:

  • Enhances equilibrium
  • Alleviate stress
  • Promote healthy posture
  • And potentially improve quality of life

If you’d want to practice yoga but can’t make it to a studio, you can watch courses online or with the help of the finest yoga apps.

Low-Impact Pilates

Group of people enjoying outdoor pilates.

Pilates, with its focus on moderate, low-impact exercises, has several advantages.

The benefits of Pilates include:

  • A stronger core,
  • Better posture,
  • Lower risk of injury,
  • And a heightened awareness of one’s body

If you want to try Pilates, find a nearby studio or Pilates mat lessons online to practice at home.


Elliptical trainers are great for those who prefer low-impact cardio exercise but still want to see results. It’s like running but easier on your joints. They are great for a total-body workout because you must use both your arms and legs to keep the machine going.

You can get a low-impact cardio exercise by using equipment that mimics the motions of jogging, running, and stair climbing. Most machines have pedals or footholds suspended above the ground and moving up and down. It means that the feet never touch a hard surface while working out. In addition, many machines have adjustable resistance levels so you can build muscle.


Rowing on a rowing machine or in a boat is a great low-impact aerobic activity that works the whole body.

The low-impact cardio workout that rowing provides is excellent for people of all fitness levels. It also helps you gain strength and endurance over time.


Two boys going kayaking.

Kayaking is excellent if you enjoy being near the water but don’t feel comfortable swimming. You can significantly improve the strength in the upper body, and abdominals can be greatly enhanced by doing this.

Pros And Cons Of Low-Impact Exercise

It is well-known that low-impact cardio exercises are easy on the body’s joints. But that isn’t the only good thing about them. Here are some reasons why you should start getting low-impact cardio exercises.


Due to the lower force of impact, low-impact exercises are safer for the joints. As a result, they’re more likely to stick with their exercise routine over time.

  • Low-impact cardio exercises like yoga and Tai Chi can improve strength, flexibility, and mobility. To improve your posture and stamina, combine yoga with Pilates.
  • Low-impact workouts like walking or cycling can help if you have heart problems but can’t do high-impact ones. There are different types of indoor cycling workouts so that you can adapt it to your needs. Low impact does not always imply low intensity.
  • Low-impact cardio exercise has the same effect in elevating your mood by releasing endorphins. “Runner’s high” is a feeling you get without exercising hard.


Low-impact cardio exercises nevertheless have their restrictions.

  • Compared to high-impact exercises like running, walking only moderately increases heart rate. You have to do low-intensity exercises for longer to get the same benefits as high-impact cardio.
  • In addition, low-impact exercise doesn’t increase bone density as much as high-impact exercise. That’s why weight training helps strengthen your bones.
  • Low-impact machines like the elliptical and spinning bikes are great for toning but aren’t designed for bulking. The elliptical trainer is gentle on joints, but if you pedal consistently with your feet flat on the ground, it can numb your foot. Furthermore, as it advances, the footplate’s elliptical motion puts additional strain on the knees.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Cardio Good For Injury Recovery?

Low-impact cardio exercises are preferable if you’re attempting to avoid aggravating a sore muscle or joint. This is especially true if you’ve ever had any orthopedic injury or surgery, such as a knee or hip replacement.

Low-impact exercise will speed up your recovery so you can return to high-impact exercise sooner.

Is Cardio Good For Your Joints?

Sore joints after a session on the treadmill or trail may indicate that you are overworking your body. Instead of eliminating high-impact training, try mixing in more low-impact activities to give your joints a rest.

How Can I Improve My Balance And Stability?

Low-impact exercises are typically less concerned with calorie expenditure and muscle development. It focuses more on strength, flexibility, balance, and alignment. Yoga and Pilates are two low-impact cardio activities that can do wonders for your balance and posture.

Is Low Impact Cardio As Effective As High Impact?

Even without high-impact exercises, you may keep your heart rate up and burn many calories. It’s not simply just because it’s low-impact. Try rowing, strength training, or boxing with a trainer if you want to work out intensely without risking injury.

Alternate high-impact cardio with low-impact exercises that are just as challenging. There are many positive effects of low-impact cardio exercise on both the body and the mind.

What Should I Do On Rest Days?

Take some time off every once to let your muscles repair and your nervous system reboot. Walking and cycling are low-impact cardio exercises you can do on rest days.

A Note From Gulf Physio

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the subject matter above. This blog post is not a substitute for medical advice. The author cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information presented. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult a healthcare professional. All decisions and actions you make are your own. No one involved in making this resource is liable for its use.

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