Trying to pack a big punch without needing a big pack of ice for your joints? If you suffer from joint pain that makes exercise difficult and uncomfortable, or if you’re just trying to preemptively avoid joint pain, the secret to fitness success may be low-impact workouts. The common misconception, though, is that a low-impact workout means low calorie burn. But that definitely doesn’t have to be the case. We’ve rounded up five low-impact exercises that have serious calorie-blasting potential without placing excess stress on your joints. The first three on the list are classic exercises that you might be familiar with already. Then, when you’re ready to learn something new and build on your arsenal of go-to low-impact exercises, check out the last two moves that do it all.
1. Fan Bike
Fan bikes have serious calorie-blasting potential because they make you work your upper and lower body at the same time. Not only are you pedaling with your feet, but you’re also pumping with your arms. Plus, the resistance provided by the fan will make you sweat in seconds.
What’s the best way to burn the most calories with the fan bike?
Intervals. Perform all-out sprints with the fan bike for 20 seconds, then resting for 10 seconds, and repeat. The interval training will elevate your heart rate quickly and burn calories instantly. Plus, the cyclical nature of the fan bike will provide the low-impact workout you need to keep your joints safe and feeling great.
The elliptical is one of the easiest exercises to do, and it burns tons of calories with hardly any impact. Because of the continuous, controlled motion of your arms and legs, there’s constant movement with little impact that will get you sweating and burning calories quickly and effectively.
What’s the best way to burn calories on an elliptical?
Try going for distance at a fast pace. A great way to burn calories with the elliptical is to perform a set time at a high speed while being able to maintain the same pace throughout the duration of the workout.
Believe it or not, walking burns more fat than running, but it takes a lot more walking to burn the same amount of calories as a short run. That said, walking at a fast pace can burn upwards of 200 calories per hour. And because running can be hard on the joints, walking as fast as you can for a good hour is a great way to burn calories and keep your joints happy.
What’s the best way to burn calories walking?
Up the elevation. Adding elevation on a treadmill or going for a hike through the hills can help burn up to 150 calories per hour. Plus, the elevation will fire up your glutes as well as give your body that extra challenge to work up a great sweat and burn calories quickly.
4. Reverse Lunges into Dumbbell Curl & Shoulder Press
Begin with your feet together, standing tall and holding dumbbells at your sides. From here, step backward into a lunge while keeping your arms at your sides and lightly tap your back knee on the ground. From this position, step your back leg up to meet the front. When your feet are back together, curl the dumbbells up, twist your wrists so your palms face away from you, then raise the dumbbells overhead, then perform the reverse motions back to the starting position. Repeat with opposite leg.
Why are these so great?
Because there is no excessive impact on your joints, performing this move at high repetitions will elevate your heart rate and will strengthen both your lower and upper body. They’ll work on your balance as well as your leg, arm, and shoulder strength to burn calories quickly, while also giving a total body workout.
5. Push Ups with Dumbbell Rows
Get into a pushup position, but instead of placing your hands on the ground, hold two dumbbells in your hands. Perform a pushup with your feet about shoulder width apart. When finished with the pushup, perform a row with one arm by pulling the dumbbell close to your chest, then lowering the dumbbell back to the ground. Perform the row on the other side. That’s one rep.
Why are these so great?
This upper body blaster allows you to work your core, chest, and back all in one. With multiple muscle groups being used and when performed with high repetitions, this move will work up a great sweat and burn those calories. When performed slowly and with control it’ll work your core strength even harder while creating a low-impact exercise.