9 Low-Impact Workout Ideas, From Yoga To Rowing

For when you want an easier-on-the-body sweat.

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A low-impact workout is any type of exercise that’s gentle on the joints, says Club Pilates trainer Jessica Roberts. You can always walk, of course, but there are plenty of other ways to go easy on your body while building strength and endurance. Here are a few ideas.



Pilates is just about as gentle as it gets, while still lengthening, strengthening, and balancing your body, Roberts says. It uses challenging, zero-impact exercises, like leg lifts and hundreds, that can be done on a mat or with a Pilates ring, ball, or Reformer.



A rebounder, or mini trampoline, absorbs the shock of your movements, says Sydney Ross of Jump&Jacked. That means you can do exercises you’d normally do on the floor — like jumping jacks, lunges, and push-ups — without impacting your joints. (It’s also a lot more fun!)



Rowing is a full-body workout that’s also non-weight bearing, says trainer Caley Crawford of Row House. It boosts cardio health, builds strength in your legs, arms, core, and back, and improves posture and mobility — all without asking too much of your joints.

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Climbing Machine

Rise Nation’s Jason Walsh recommends climbing cardio classes — or simply using a stairclimber at the gym. You can up the resistance of the machine to work your lower body, and increase the speed to improve cardio health.



Yoga is easy on the body, doesn’t put an immense amount of pressure on the joints, and it encourages you to move at your own pace, says YogaSix pro Tamara Teragawa. It’s also a gentle way to stretch and work out if you’re injured, as well as a great intro to exercise.



Compare a high-impact cardio exercise like running to a low-impact exercise like indoor cycling. “Indoor cycling is a fluid workout where the body and bike remain connected to minimize the use of body weight,” says CycleBar’s Karen Maxwell.



The elliptical is an excellent go-to whenever you’re in the mood to glide your way through a workout. Take it easy on a low setting, do a HIIT workout by raising and lowering the resistance, or focus on pulling the handles to work your arms.


Strength Training

Coach Allison Sizemore recommends classic strength training: think lifting dumbbells or kettlebells, or doing planks and squats with bands. When strength training doesn’t involve high-impact moves like jumping, it’s a safe yet effective way to work out.

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There are countless ways to turn a walk into a low-impact workout sesh. Take a casual stroll outside, pick up the pace and power walk, add an incline to target more muscles, or try a fun (yet challenging) treadmill walking workout to keep things interesting.

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