Low-Impact Cardio Routine

Low-Impact Cardio Routine
Jump squats and burpees are a guaranteed way to get your heart rate up, but all those high-impact exercises can wreak havoc on your joints. In fact, lots of fitness pros recommend taking a 48-hour break after a high-impact exercise session, in order to prevent long-term joint damage and lower your risk of injury. 

WHAT IS LOW-IMPACT CARDIO?

Low-impact cardio is exercise that gets your heart rate up without causing unnecessary stress on your joints. And the best part? You can do low-cardio workouts just about anywhere. 

Low-impact exercise is not only easier on your joints, but also comes with a ton of other benefits.

YOU CAN STILL BUILD STRENGTH

Low-impact doesn’t mean building less muscle! Choose your low-impact workouts wisely, and you’ll still reap the benefits of more rigorous training.

LOW-IMPACT CARDIO IMPROVES OVERALL CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS

You don’t need to sprint on a treadmill to get your cardio in right off the bat! Low-impact cardio is a great way to start off slow and build your endurance over time while still improving your cardiovascular fitness, one day at a time.

YOU CAN TURN A REST DAY INTO AN ACTIVE REST DAY
Taking a rest day is critical to giving your muscles time to rest and repair! But giving your body a much-needed break doesn’t have to mean lounging on the couch all day. Active rest days are a great way to allow your muscles time to heal while still getting your heart rate up. Try incorporating low-impact cardio activities, like a walk around your neighborhood, to keep your body moving.

LOW IMPACT CARDIO ON THE GO

This low-impact cardio routine is split up into four five-minute rounds that include the same three exercises at different active and resting intervals.

Round 1: Work 20sec, rest 40sec

Round 2: Work 30sec, rest 30sec

Round 3: Work 40sec, rest 20sec

Round 4: Work 45sec, rest 15sec

We love these three moves because they target major muscle groups without taking up a ton of space, so they’re perfect for hotel rooms, dorms and makeshift home gyms:

REVERSE LUNGES

Stand upright with your hands at your hips or together in front of your chest. Take a big step backwards with your left leg until your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your knee is directly above your ankle. Be sure to keep that left knee off the ground, push up through your right heel and activate your glute on the way up, then alternate sides.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

Get into a plank position with your hands shoulder width apart, your back straight and your head forward. Evenly distribute your weight across your hands and toes while keeping your core tight. Bring one knee up to your chest as far as you can, then switch. Think of mountain climbers as running against the ground. You can go as fast or as slow as you want but be mindful of your breathing and maintain a neutral spine. Alternate inhaling and exhaling as you alternate legs.  

Remember, this is low impact cardio, so really focus on perfecting your form over your speed!

BODYWEIGHT SQUATS

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes turned out slightly to open up your hips. Flex your abdominal muscles to engage your core. Maintain a neutral spine on the way down and squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Return to starting position and repeat. Pro tip: be sure to push your hips back as if you're sitting into a chair and press up through your heels.

COMPLETING THE ROUTINE

You’ll work through each five-minute round cycling through these movements. For example, you will complete lunges, mountain climbers and squats, then start again with lunges and mountain climbers before moving onto each round.