What’s the Best Low Impact Exercise for Heart Health?

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

If you want to burn calories and strengthen your heart muscle but don’t want to deal with the joint wear and tear that can come from fitness exercises that require jumping, a low impact cardiovascular fitness routine may be just what the doctor ordered. Not only is low impact exercise gentler on the joints if you suffer from problems such as arthritis, it’s also perfect for beginners and those who are pregnant. Low impact doesn’t necessarily mean low intensity. You can take low impact exercises to a very high level just by doing the exercises with more energy. Once you’ve chosen your form of exercise, you can control the intensity. What is the best low impact exercise for burning calories and strengthening your heart?

When it comes to low impact cardiovascular exercise, you have a variety of effective options to choose from. If you don’t want to join a gym and have no equipment at home, walking is one the best simplest low impact exercises you can do. The key to getting good cardiovascular benefit lies in continuously challenging yourself as you become more conditioned by walking at a faster pace. You can also increase your heart rate and burn more calories by moving your arms in an exaggerated motion as you walk. The other way to maximize low impact cardiovascular benefits is to incorporate interval training into your walking routine. Walk as rapidly as you can for one minute, followed by a slower recovery pace for two minutes. Keep repeating this sequence for at least thirty minutes. This is a real calorie blaster!

Step climbing is also an excellent cardiovascular training exercise that’s low impact. If you work in a large office building with several floors, this is a convenient way to get a lunchtime, low impact cardiovascular workout. Bring your athletic shoes to work and spend twenty to thirty minutes climbing the stairs in your office building. At first you’ll have to pause between floors to rest, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll build up endurance. Climbing stairs provides significant calorie burning and cardiovascular benefits without requiring you to jump around. Another alternative to climbing stairs is to use a step platform and a low impact step aerobics DVD. Be sure to choose one that’s specifically designed to be low impact as some step routines incorporate some jumping on and off the platform.

Cycling is another effective low impact cardiovascular exercise. If you belong to a gym, you can use the exercise bikes they offer or invest in your own. If you become bored easily, take your cycling routine outside where the scene is constantly changing. For variety, take a spinning class at the gym. To challenge yourself even more, add interval training by pedaling intensely for a minute and then slowing down. Keep repeating this sequence for thirty minutes.

Other low impact cardiovascular workout options include using an elliptical machine which are found in most health clubs, using a rowing machine, as well as water aerobics and swimming. Why not do some combination of these low impact cardiovascular exercises? This will give you more variety and allow you to continuously challenge different muscles. This is a great way to prevent boredom which is one of the major reasons people abandon their exercise routine.

As you can see, there’s no need to stress your joints or jump around to get a good cardiovascular workout, give some of these low impact cardiovascular options a try, but keep exercising.

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