Low-impact workouts can help you exercise with joint pain to get in shape and improve your quality of life. Learn more about your options inside.
February 2023. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.
When you're dealing with joint pain, exercise is likely the last thing you want to do. But doctors everywhere will tell you that losing weight and staying active can help reduce joint pain, which creates a frustrating conundrum.
Low-impact exercises to the rescue! These workouts can help you start exercising again without placing too much stress on your already-aching joints. And that lets you be more consistent, which is the most important part about getting active to lose weight.
This article explores the advantages of low-impact exercise before we check out some easy options that'll help you protect your joints. Ready to take charge of your workouts?
Benefits of Low-Impact Workouts
Low-impact exercises help you get your body moving and offer some fantastic benefits to anyone who'd like to try them. Plus, they'll let you work out more consistently, which is more important than intensity if you want to get in shape.
Here are some of the top benefits of low-impact workouts:
Here are some of the top benefits of low-impact workouts:
Reduced Risk of Injury and Pain
Low-impact workouts reduce your risk of injury or flaring up joint pain. Since those with joint problems and a history of injuries are often more likely to get hurt during intense workouts, low-impact exercises can be a game changer.
Comparatively, you're more likely to tear, pull, sprain, or strain a muscle with a high-impact workout that involves jumping, running, or other movements that stress your joints.
Have you ever felt stressed trying to keep up with an intense workout routine? Or when you've been hitting the gym regularly? It's not just you – intense exercise without enough recovery time can increase the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body! And while cortisol is normal and can even boost performance, high levels may lead to depression, anxiety, and fatigue.
Low-impact workouts don't produce as much cortisol as high-intensity exercise routines. And it requires less rest between workouts for your body to recover and bring the cortisol levels back to normal.
While low-impact workouts don't burn as many calories as high-intensity workouts, they build muscle, boost your metabolism, and let you exercise for longer. This method can help you lose weight, which helps reduce and prevent joint pain.
And low-impact workouts are more enjoyable for most people, so putting in extra time for weight loss isn't as daunting. Ideally, you'll aim for 45-60 minutes a day, four to five days a week. An hour of walking can burn over 250 calories, which can add up to several pounds lost over time!
Strength and Endurance
Low-impact workouts can improve your strength and endurance, especially if you train with weights. For example, strength training using low weights and high reps is considered a low-impact workout. And training in this way can build slow-twitch muscle fibers, which help improve endurance and overall strength.
And if weights aren't your thing, you can strength train with calisthenics and other bodyweight exercises, too!
We've compiled a list of low-impact exercises that you can combine to target your whole body. They'll also help you combine cardio and strength training, allowing you to burn calories and build muscle without all the joint pain!
Try combining these exercises on your own or look for routines on YouTube that include these moves. If you work through all three lists on a regular basis, you can rest assured that you'll be training your whole body.
Note: This list contains general low-impact exercises. However, everyone's body is different – always consult your physician before beginning a new workout routine. Also, ask for advice on any specific exercises you shouldn't do due to your existing joint issues.
These bodyweight exercises will help you burn fat, build muscle, and stay in shape.
For the exercises that you hold – namely plank and side plank – start with 20 seconds and work up to a minute. And for those with reps, begin with two sets of eight and work up to three sets of ten per workout.
Here are some other low-impact exercise options that'll help you protect your joints while you get in shape.
With any of these activities, the idea is to perform the exercise for an extended period. Start with 20 minutes and build up to an hour. This will be your workout for that day. Alternatively, you can do 10-20 minutes of one activity as a warmup before your workout.
Exercise Without Pain
These exercises will help you get in shape without placing further strain on your joints. But that doesn't mean you must exercise through the pain you're feeling right now! If you're not cleared to exercise by your doctor or are experiencing intense, sharp, or stabbing pain, wait until the pain subsides or lessens before you exercise.
On the other hand, if it's safe to exercise with the level of pain you're feeling (only your doctor can tell you if it is), the Kailo Pain Patch can help. The Kailo patch is designed to offer pain relief in seconds, and it's theorized to work by interfering with your body's electrical system. And a recent clinical study showed that 99% of patients who participated felt pain relief within 10 minutes of using the Kailo pain patch.
Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or if you are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.