There is a whole season of sugary treats, turkey dinners and carbs galore just right around the corner. But for many, the prospect of counteracting those calories with exercise is a nerve-racking one – not because they don’t want to get in shape, but because exercise can be stressful on the joints.
Around 14 million Americans suffer from severe joint pain, and around a quarter of Americans suffer from arthritis. That doesn’t even take into account those who suffer from mild forms of joint pain or those at risk of developing a joint condition. So it is no wonder that many people exhibit some trepidation when asked to run or play contact sports. Running can be very hard on the knees, and contact sports… well, you know contact sports can cause joint injuries.
Luckily, there are “low impact” exercises you can do – exercises that still allow you to tone your muscles and strengthen your core, without putting an undue impact on your joints. If you want to burn some of those holiday kcals, but are concerned about the joint impact, here are four perfect exercises:
1) Trampoline Workouts
When you skip rope or do jumping jacks on the gym floor, it is your knees that absorb the bulk of the shock, which isn’t good. On a trampoline, however, the springs – or in the case of a Springfree Trampoline the composite rods – use Hooke’s Law to turn the kinetic energy into a bounce, therefore giving your knees a break. This is one of the reasons trampoline workouts have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Get one for your backyard, and the whole family can get in shape together in a fun way.
There is a reason water aerobics are so often used for injury rehabilitation and among the elderly; the water’s buoyancy makes it easy on the joints. But water workouts are not just for those aforementioned groups. Underwater strength training has caught on with mainstream fitness as well, and swimming remains a popular and effective way to shed pounds without stressing your joints.
3) Rock Climbing
With the proper training and equipment (i.e. don’t attempt rock climbing alone), this can be a great low impact exercise, as good for the core as it is for the soul. Rock climbers report feeling a therapeutic sense of accomplishment when they first get a hang of the technique and are able to climb their first wall.
And, of course, one of the most popular modes of low impact exercise is the bike. For a fresh air experience, buy a quality road bike and take to the back roads; or, for a safer experience, join a local gym and use their stationary bike. Either way, this can be a fun (if tedious) form of low impact exercise. But go easy at first: don’t expect to beat the Tour de France the first time you hop on a bike.
With all the sweet treats and big meals on the horizon, now is the time to start thinking about safe and low impact exercise you can do. Try one of these four workouts and strengthen your muscles without sacrificing your joints.