Making physical fitness an important aspect of daily life is the key to maintaining not only maximum physical health, but optimum emotional health as well. Exercise and fitness are important in keeping you feeling your best, but for many people, physical exercise can be too taxing on the body. Physicians and physical therapists - among other medical professionals - often recommend low impact exercise to patients who find that normal exercise is too much for them to handle. But does low impact exercise have to be boring and low-effort? Absolutely not. At Phoenix A2, we’re dedicated to providing our community with the recovery tools, knowledge, and resources necessary to feel their best, which is why we’re here to break down how you can make the most out of low-impact exercises of all types.
WHAT IS LOW IMPACT EXERCISE?
EFFECTIVE EXERCISE THAT MINIMIZES STRAIN ON THE BODY
Low impact exercise is defined as the type of exercise where at least one foot remains on the ground at a time. Designed to minimize strain on joints like your knees and hips, low impact exercise is great for older populations, those recovering from an injury, and those looking to start exercising again after some time off. While low impact takes exercises like running, tumbling, and jumping off the table, what remains are a variety of exercise options like swimming, weightlifting, yoga, barre, cycling, and more.
But don’t be mistaken -- ‘low impact’ exercise does not signify ‘low effort’ or the idea that you will not get as good of a workout. Low impact exercised like swimming can actually build muscle and burn calories better than running due to increased resistance and the utilization of nearly every muscle in your body. Additionally, low impact exercise can still bring you incredible benefits like:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Muscle strengthening and toning
- Long-term physical strength retention
In other words -- there’s not much separating low-impact exercise from high-impact workouts. The possibilities are wide open for those looking to get a great workout without having to put unnecessary strain on your joints.
CAN YOU STILL GAIN MUSCLE WITH LOW IMPACT EXERCISE?
UNDERSTANDING MUSCLE GROWTH AND LOW-IMPACT TRAINING
The name ‘low impact’ is a deceiving term. You wouldn’t think that the super-buff guys at the gym or Olympic swimmers are engaging in low impact exercise, but both are engaging in exercises that do not put a large amount of strain on their joints.
Muscle growth itself occurs when micro-tears are created in your muscles during contraction and extension of your muscles while bearing weight. These micro-tears are typically harmless and are naturally repaired within your body using nutrients. As the muscle repairs, it becomes stronger and larger than ever - kind of like a callus on broken skin. This muscle growth and toning can obviously occur with weightlifting over time, leaving you pushing yourself incrementally, but can muscle growth occur in other ways?
The answer here: a resounding yes! When it comes to weightlifting, it’s time we rethink the way we think of ‘weight.’ People who do yoga, for instance, may not be lifting traditional dumbells but are lifting their own bodyweight the entire time. Swimmers may not appear to be dealing with traditional weights either, but the pressure of water resistance allows them to still be putting their muscles up to a serious challenge. These low-impact exercises, while they don’t appear to be doing much on the surface, can help you tone and build muscles.
HOW CAN I MAKE THE MOST OUT OF LOW IMPACT EXERCISE?
TIPS FOR TAPPING-IN TO GREAT RESULTS WITH LOW IMPACT EXERCISE
It’s clear that low-impact exercise and fitness can bring great benefits to your workout regimen. Looking for ways to get as much out of your low-impact workout as possible? Remember these tips:
Ensure Proper Diet. In order for muscles to properly heal and grow from low-impact exercise, it’s extremely important to ensure proper dietary intake. Eating plenty of protein and other nutrients will help your muscles build and repair themselves faster. This remains the same for high-impact exercises but channeling maximum results from lower weight-bearing workouts like yoga requires careful attention to balanced nutrient intake.
- Take Time for Recovery. No matter what kind of exercise you take part in - even during beginning stages like doing cardio on the elliptical - you’re going to be sore. As you gradually increase resistance, go extra reps, or up weight, this will continue. Taking time to focus on recovering these micro-traumas in your muscles that occur from this exercise with the Phoenix A2 means that you can speed up your healing process and get back in the gym to be stronger and more prepared than ever before.
- Isolate Muscle Groups. A great way to maximize muscle growth during low impact exercise is to isolate different muscle groups one day at a time. For instance, swimmers can isolate muscles by focusing entirely on the kick or stroke one day, maximizing the effort exerted by each muscle group while still remaining low-impact.
Make the most out of your low-impact or high-impact exercises with the help of Phoenix A2 for better and faster results.