Often when people start out on their fitness journey and join a gym or group fitness session, they often say to themselves “I can’t do some of those advanced exercises that everyone else is doing!!”. Well you are probably right – for now anyway! It might not even be safe for you to do some of these exercises or get into running just yet, particularly if you are carrying some extra weight or have a longstanding injury, as certain exercises can put excess strain on your knees, ankles, hips and lower back.
So it’s important to start slowly with low impact exercises and gradually build up to more advanced higher impact moves as you get stronger. There are lots of low impact exercises that are a good place to start which can still increase your heart rate, improve your muscle strength and give you a good workout.
One low impact workout that you could start with is outlined below. Perform each exercise for 40 sec, then rest for 20 sec. Repeat for 2-3 rounds for a solid 20 minute workout!
- High knees – try to raise your knees above your hips to meet your hands with a little jump each time. If you can’t jump, then simply raise your knees above your hips in a walking motion.
- Pushups on knees – make sure your hands are in line with your shoulders and you are moving down to the floor with your chest first not your head. Your head should be in a neutral position in line with your torso.
- Squats – ensure your legs are slightly wider than shoulder width apart and then push your hips back as if you are going to sit on the toilet! Then come back up to a standing position, making sure that you are distributing your weight through your heels, not your toes and your knees are in line with your toes.
- Step Out Burpees – start on your toes and place your hands on the floor. Then step one leg out behind you, then the other leg, then step each leg back in and stand up. If you are feeling strong, you can jump both feet out together behind you and jump them back in, then jump up as you stand up.
- Dips – find a stable chair or small box and place your hands palm down with fingers facing towards your back. Your feet should be planted on the floor with knees bent. Slowly lower your upper body down trying to keep your elbows as close to your body as possible, then push back up. If you are feeling strong, you can straighten your legs out front to make it harder.
- Forward Lunges – start with feet together then move one leg forward with toes of both legs pointing forward and move down into a kneeling position without touching the floor. Then push your forward leg back to the starting position and alternate legs.
- Crunches – lying on a mat with feet on the floor, knees bent and hands behind your ears, slowly bring your shoulder blades off the floor whilst squeezing your belly button into your back. Lower your upper body back down to the mat and repeat.