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Low-Impact Workouts for Beginners: Instructions and Video

If you’ve made the decision to bring more movement into your life, congratulations! That commitment to yourself is the first step. And it’s a big one. Now it’s time to find the right workout.

You’ll want to try something that isn’t too intimidating or hard on your body while you adjust to your new routine. A low-impact workout can be a smart choice for beginners. A mind-body movement system like Pilates can build strength and minimize your risk of injury when you’re just getting started.

Benefits of Low-Impact Workouts

A low-impact workout is anything that doesn’t include jumping, running, or hopping repeatedly. Your body weight combined with the forces of those actions creates an impact on your joints. If you are just starting out or coming back to movement from a break or injury, low-impact workouts are gentle on your joints.

These types of workouts can ease you into the process of getting stronger, while giving your body a chance to build up the load tolerance on your tissues to avoid injury.

I know what you may be thinking. Isn’t it more efficient to just dive in and go for a jog? A lot of us grew up around the mantras “no pain, no gain” and “feel the burn.” A high impact or really any impact workout can be very beneficial if they are done at a pace and level appropriate for your body.

But you don’t need an extreme fitness routine to strengthen your body.

Loading your tissues in a variety of ways will bring optimal health and function. You can build whole body strength and mobility in a Pilates workout – no jumping, running or hopping required. We can even add a cardio-tramp or jumpboard to the Pilates Reformer to add some gentle cardio to your routine.

Can You Lose Weight with Low-Impact Exercise?

Building strength and mobility through low-impact exercise can positively impact your metabolism in a way that helps manage your weight. As you get stronger, lean muscle will burn more calories over time. Weight loss is complex and impacted by many different factors unique to each of us. Generally though, nutrition and fitness experts agree that weight loss is about 80% diet.

Think of it this way. Wellness, including diet and exercise, all go hand in hand to support a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet will support your movement goals. Moving more will help you feel better. Feeling better is a powerful incentive to keep the cycle going and bring even more fresh, healthy foods into your diet. This may not be a strict weight loss regimen, but you will see an overall improvement in your health. Weight loss may be a side benefit.

What Is the Best Low Impact Workout?

The best low-impact workout is the one you can commit to for at least a few minutes every day. I love Pilates and have seen its impact on clients again and again. Doing things you love regularly and getting outside to walk are also wonderful choices. As you build your commitment you can start increasing the pace and adding in workouts like the one I’ve provided below.

How Should a Beginner Start Working Out?

I like to tell beginners to take care of their feet. Doing foot exercises and making sure that you are using all the muscles in your feet is the first step in bringing balanced movement to your legs, hips and back as you bring more movement into your life. Spend some time barefoot and let your feet feel different surfaces. Your feet are a foundation to support all your bigger goals!

Beyond that, slow and steady wins the race. Always listen to your body. You’ll want to get into a routine and be accountable to something every day. Try to bring more movement overall into your life throughout the day and do your best to trust the process.

Your body is unique, with issues and alignment specific to you. Working with an expert can help you learn movement essentials, unravel any challenges in your own body, and get you safely on a fitness path that’s right for you.

Low Impact Workout Routine

Try this sequence of low-impact movements perfect for beginners. You’ll be on your way to reaching your movement goals in no time!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you been in the no-exercise zone all winter? Are you ready to start with a low-impact routine? What has worked for you previously? Do you have a favorite exercise that makes you feel refreshed?

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Patricia McDougall

This looks very comprehensive and informative. I recently tried to start a new Tai Chi class online via Silver Sneakers. When I accessed Zoom it said I was giving it permission to change things in my computer. I exited stage left as fast as possible. So many people use Zoom; what am I missing? Scares me to give anyone that sort of permission.

The Author

As co-founder of MOVE Wellness®, Elaine Economou helps people move with ease, strength, and joy. Her passion is empowering people to understand their unique bodies and build strength to support moving well through their unique life. Elaine has created Movement Essentials: Getting Started with Pilates to help people move well and live a life they love – wherever and whenever.

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