What precisely is a low-impact train?

two people doing low impact exercise in the gym

POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Kelly

It wasn’t that long ago that box jumps, skipping ropes, and treadmill sprints likely dominated the fitness aspect of your social feed. Nowadays? I bet it leans more towards things like hot girl walking and Pilates.

There’s been an undeniably shift in fitness culture lately, and it looks like it’s moving away from your brutal, self-indulgent workouts and toward more chill-out workouts. a little. A phrase often accompanied by the following? “Low impact.”

Low-impact exercises are often touted as being good for your joints and beginner-friendly, and while it may feel like a niche type of exercise, there’s actually a lot to it. with low impact cells. The point is, as is the case with many buzzy fitness terms that are co-opted to use even when they are incorrect (see: people who use “HIIT” to describe literally any exercise), It’s not clear how many people really understand what “low impact” means.

Here, bodybuilding experts set a record on what “low impact” means, clarifying some misconceptions about low-impact exercises and discussing why people should combine exercises. have a low impact on their habits.

What exactly does low impact mean?

The general definition of “low impact” is “involving movements that don’t put a lot of stress on the body,” according to Oxford Dictionary. While that’s true, it’s also pretty vague. After all, “all exercise puts a strain on the body, whether it’s high- or low-impact,” CITYROW founder guide Annie Mulgrew told POPSUGAR. “We want the body to be able to deal with stress effectively – that’s one reason why we exercise.”

What really makes a low-impact workout is when “you always have one foot on the floor at any point during your exercise,” says Justin Norrisco-founder of LIT . method, a low-impact training method. This means no jumps. Think of it this way: “a low-impact exercise is one where your body isn’t forced to pull itself up for impact,” explains Mulgrew.

Xio Colon, personal trainer team leader at Life time sky in Manhattan.

Impact vs Intensity

Just because you’re doing a low-impact workout doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not breaking a sweat. In fact, low-impact exercises can still be really tough — and that’s because impact isn’t the same as intensity. However, people often confuse the two.

“Impact is the stress a workout can put on your joints, while intensity is how much you’re challenging yourself,” explains. Syndey Millercertified Pilates instructor and creator HOUSEWORK an exercise program that combines low-impact Pilates movements with high-intensity cardio and strength.

For example, a high-intensity, high-impact exercise would be a set of exercises burpees. “That gets your heart rate up really fast, and you’re also jumping and landing, so there’s an impact on the body,” Mulgrew explains. Meanwhile, Rowing is a high-intensity, low-impact exercise, because “it’s not weight-bearing (when you’re sitting), but you can row quickly or forcefully and that will increase the intensity at which your body is working.” moving”. she speaks. Then you can also do low-intensity, low-impact workouts, like Long walk on flat surface. “None of these are better or worse than the other: ‘it really depends on what your goals and intentions are,'” says Mulgrew.

Which exercise is low impact?

“Incorporating low-impact exercises into your current exercise routine may be easier than you think,” says Colon. That’s because many exercises are inherently low-impact, such as Pilates, yoga, walking, cycling, swimming, and even endurance training. And you can easily do a low-impact workout by removing or modify any dance moves. For example, a plyometric HIIT exercises can be done with low impact if you switch places, such as jumping squats, and do squats to raise calves instead.

However, one exercise you can’t do low impact is running. Because you’re in the air for a brief moment while you’re transferring your weight from one foot to the other, running is, by definition, going to have a big impact. For that reason, sports that include running or agility, for example, (think: tennis, picklesfootball and basketball) would both be considered high impact.

Who can benefit from low-impact exercises?

Honestly, everyone, says Norris. Because so much falls under the low-impact umbrella, there’s something there for everyone, regardless of your needs and goals.

Notably, because your body and joints suffer less wear and tear from low-impact exercises, they can be a great choice for anyone who’s had past injuries or who wants to prevent injury Miller said in the future. Not to mention, low-impact exercises are often beginner-friendly or back after a hiatus from training.

Why are people so low impact right now?

The Internet’s current fascination with low-impact exercise is real, from 12-3-30 practice arrive Pilates reformer. But there are several reasons why the trend has shifted in this direction.

“It just feels better,” says Mulgrew. “It allows people to connect with their bodies – it’s more of an inside-body experience than an out-of-body experience. That doesn’t mean you can’t experience mind-body connection. Maybe when you’re doing more impactful things, but when your body doesn’t feel good while you’re doing it, it’s very distracting.All you can think about is feeling uncomfortable rather than doing it. the way your body moves.” Over the past decade, the story of cultural fitness has shifted from It’s about aesthetics to be about ability about mood and mental health – Swapping unrealistic beauty standards for self-care. So it makes sense for people to start choosing their workouts based on feeling good rather than calorie payoff or body-changing promises.

This feel-good motion selection instinct has become even more relevant amid a global pandemic. COVID has pushed us to slow down life in every way – including our exercises. “When you’re already in an environment of emotional stress, which we all go through, it can be hard to get the body to do really impactful, difficult, and challenging exercises,” says Mulgrew. challenge. Low-impact exercises are apartment and living room-friendly and often seem to have a lower barrier to entry, if effort is involved.

Not to mention, they are easier to bond with. Miller adds: “Activating in mainly low-impact ways feels really good for the body, so it’s easier for you to get things done; you can show up five or six days a week without feeling down.”

Miller, Mulgrew, and Norris all agree that overall, we’re making a bit of an adjustment from a few years ago, when High-intensity, high-impact workout is the norm, and there is a common “harder is better” mentality. “Nowadays, people are realizing that there’s another way to exercise so you can look and feel good and don’t have to beat up your body,” says Norris.

“I think people get tired of doing those things, too,” Mulgrew said. “Now, the industry is allowing people, so to speak, to not have to do that kind of workout anymore. We’ve gotten smarter as an industry. We know you. can still maintain or set and celebrate victory without having to be so hard on the body.”

While low-impact training has some undeniable benefits, it’s important to note that high-impact training isn’t inherently bad. In fact, you’ll be better off if you do a little bit of everything, Mulgrew says. It is important that your body can respond well to the impact as it is a non-negotiable part of daily life. You’ll need to jump over puddles and rush to the train – and if your fitness training includes a bit of impact training, you’ll be better prepared for those moments to come. “Your workouts need to complement your lifestyle,” she says. “There’s a time and place for all; we just have to be mindful. You don’t want to go to extremes.”

One thing every trainer here emphasizes is that how you incorporate low-impact training into your routine is all about your personal preferences and goals. If you love running, don’t stop it because it’s a high-impact workout – just consider using your cross-training days to do some low-intensity exercise instead of one. plyometric HIIT class. And if morning walks and Pilates classes are the best part of your day, there’s no need to change that; just consider adding a little bouncy cardio dance Sometimes, your body is ready for whatever comes your way.

Image source: POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Kelly

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