What Is Low Impact Exercise?

When we think of exercise and exercising in general, we might think of things like running, cycling or weight training. Of course, these normally involve a lot of physical movements and sometimes these are quite high intensity. 

What Is Low Impact Exercise?

Many forms of exercise involve a lot of impact, but the term impact is often misunderstood. In short, when we’re talking about low impact exercise, we’re talking about exercises that do not put a lot of strain onto your body.

This makes them ideal for people with injuries or limitations. Of course though, there’s a lot more to know than just this. So, we’ve written this handy guide that explains everything you need to know about what low impact exercise is and how it might be effective.

Ready to find out a lot more? Then read on for all the answers! 

What Are Low Impact Exercises?

As we mentioned briefly, low impact exercises are simply exercises that do not put too much strain or weight onto your muscles and joints during exercise. Generally, exercises like running are considered to be high impact exercises due to their strain onto your muscles.

Therefore, low impact exercises are quite literally the opposite of these high impact exercises. Things like swimming, yoga, pilates, cycling and aqua aerobics are all considered to be generally low impact exercises. 

Swimming and aqua classes use the support and buoyancy of the water to help support your body during the exercise process, and this makes it ideal as a low impact exercise. Of course, pilates and yoga has a strong focus on stretches and breathing – both low impact.

By involving yourself in low impact exercises, you are avoiding your body undergoing any significant physical strain, which could lead to further injury and pain.

But if you remove the intensity from the exercise – does that mean that low impact exercises are actually useful?

Are Low Impact Exercises Useful?

You may think that because low impact exercises are not as intense as high impact exercises like running on a treadmill or many forms of sports, that this means they have little to no use. However, this could not be further from the truth.

Low impact exercises are very useful for a whole host of people. Let’s examine this in more detail.

Those Carrying An Injury/Returning From Injury 

People who carry injuries are usually unable to get involved with high impact exercises. As a result, they will need to do something that does not put too much physical strain on their body which could exacerbate the injury.

This makes these forms ideal for people who are looking to keep doing physical exercises for fitness purposes but cannot carry out other forms of exercise.

So, people who have bad knees or a condition will definitely benefit from low impact exercises.

On top of this, people who are involved in sports can benefit from low impact exercises when they are in rehabilitation from an injury. These exercises can help to strengthen the muscles that have become injured, and help them to return to the sport stronger. 

Obese People 

Obesity causes numerous problems, but one of the most damaging problems that obese people find is how difficult it can be to exercise so they can work towards weight loss.

For people who are obese, low impact exercises can help to ease them in and lose weight. 

This is especially true for exercises like swimming because swimming is an excellent aerobic activity, meaning that regular swimming can help obese people to lose weight – along with a healthy and balanced diet, of course.

Senior Citizens 

Many seniors find it difficult to get involved in some exercises, so they can benefit from getting involved with low impact exercises.

These exercises can help seniors maintain great health and fitness levels, without working their bodies too hard and causing injuries.

What Are The Best Forms Of Low Impact Exercises?

There are many types of low impact exercises out there that you can get involved with. We’ve briefly mentioned a few earlier, but we’re going to explore them a bit more below! 

What Is Low Impact Exercise?


Cycling in a controlled manner can be an excellent form of low impact exercise. The bike allows for heavy strains on the muscles to be alleviated, but you still benefit from the aerobic workout. 

Of course, this extends to things like pilates classes and other similar cycling classes (Pilates vs Yoga: Which is better? Find out here). Really, the goal is to keep performing physical activities but without overexerting yourself. 


As we mentioned earlier, swimming is one of the best forms of low impact exercises as the water can take a lot of the strain and stress out of the workout. This form of exercise is ideal for people trying to lose weight or simply improve their stamina. 

There are many types of aqua classes that you can get involved with, and many out there will cater to all levels of physical fitness, so you need to check the local availability around you. 


Badminton is a very fun and popular sport to play that does not involve or require too much physical exertion. It’s also a great way to socialize with your friends. As a result, badminton is one of the best low impact exercises for seniors. 


Yoga is certainly beneficial for a multitude of reasons and it can help you physically, psychologically and emotionally. It can be performed by everybody and you can have a yoga class tailored to your own limitations. 


Golf can be an ideal choice for a low impact exercise. Some courses involve nice walks out in the open air, and along with the physical swings, you have a great recipe for fitness and happiness. 

The Bottom Line 

Low impact exercise is literally just exercise that does not involve a lot of strain on the muscles or body overall, and can be beneficial for lots of people! We hope this guide has helped. 

Laura Simmons
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