Low Impact Exercise
Movement is continuous and large muscle groups are gently put through their paces. Swimming, walking, cycling and using an elliptical training machine are very popular low impact workouts.Low Impact Aerobics
Low impact aerobics are exercises that keep one or both feet on the ground during the session as in dance classes and most step aerobics. There is a large variety of dance and aerobic classes of all different levels, offering a workout to suit everybody’s needs.
Walking is probably the easiest low impact exercise and very gentle on the back. Regular walking also helps reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack. The only thing you need is good walking shoes. To make walking more interesting you can monitor your progress, distance and time for example, and you could introduce a minute of jogging every 20, 10, or 5 minutes depending on how keen you are. Walking a distance of 2/3 miles 3 times a week will improve heart rate and stamina but remember to walk at a brisk pace, not a leisurely stroll. Build up your walking by first starting with whatever is comfortable for you. Ten or twenty minutes walking is great to start with. Walkers can sometimes become joggers but walking can still be beneficial for joggers as walking can keep up the heart rate without the stress on the joints for the times when jogging may not be suitable.
Cycling is great for working the lower half of the body and for burning calories without jarring the body and bones. Cycling can be outside or indoors on an exercise bike either at the gym or at home.
Always wear a cycling helmet. Check your tyres and brakes before you hit the road. At night make sure you can be seen by other traffic. Check that saddle and handlebars are the correct height to avoid injury. If you have lower back problems check with your doctor before you start as the leaning forward position for long periods can sometimes cause the lower back to stiffen up.
Using an elliptical training machine is a low impact method to tone the body and at the same time develop cardiovascular health. It is gentle on the joints and back because your feet are always on the pedals eliminating practically all impact. Ten minutes on the elliptical machine can burn about 100 calories in 10 minutes.
Getting the Best From an Elliptical Trainer
Firstly make sure you enter your statistics into the machine so you can see how many calories you are burning (not always accurate but will give a rough idea)
Make sure you are using enough resistance with each backward and forward movement of your legs. With the elliptical trainer you determine the speed, and it stops when you stop. Unlike the treadmill which can catch people out when trying to get on off while the machine is still running.
Standing with good posture will result in working your core as well as tightening those abs. You can feel this more if you let go of the hand rails.
Whilst going forward works the quads, going backwards will work the hamstrings and glutes.
Working out on the elliptical trainer can burn as many calories as the treadmill but with less exertion. The bonus here is that many people come off a treadmill sweating and feeling exhausted and don't continue whereas the elliptical machine has a kinder effect.