Why Go For Low Impact Workouts And Which Is The Best For You
Yoga, pilates, TRX, rowing, swimming—why should you go for low-impact workouts and where you can start your practice now amid the pandemic
Staying active is good practice, whatever stage you are at your life. But sometimes, you may find yourself in certain conditions or predicaments that prevent you from engaging in heavy physical activity.
Did you know that even running or jumping rope can be categorized as high-impact training? This is because you’re subjecting the body to high stress and impact, even just for a couple of minutes a day. And when you’re injured or recovering or pregnant, these kinds of exercises are not for you. In fact, orthopedic surgeon Nicholas DiNubile, MD says that “Stress and impact can cause damage to joint cushions, tendons, and muscles, especially if your musculoskeletal frame is not as durable or limber.”
Low-impact workouts are made exactly for these moments: when you’re recovering after a surgery or an injury, if you’re suffering from some preexisting condition or joint-related pain, if you’re a beginner who spent all her life sedentary and wouldn’t want to hurt yourself getting into intensive workouts immediately, if you’re pregnant or just gave birth, or when you’re body is aging and you need gentler movements to stay active.
So if you’re tempted to skip the workout if you’re suffering from these problems, don’t. Low-impact does not necessarily mean low intensity, low effort, or low rewards. Sometimes, low impact can even mean more fun and productive, without the higher risks associated with hurting yourself.
Here are some fun and rewarding low-impact workouts you can do, and how you can start doing them at home or outside amidst the pandemic.
Swimming is actually the king of all workouts because it utilizes the whole body with low impact, but high benefit. When we think cardio, high-impact workout is the first thing that comes to mind like jogging or calisthenics. But swimming is actually one of the best calorie burners, burning around 400 to 1,050 calories per hour. Not only is it great cardio, but also helps in sculpting the whole body to make you look fitter and leaner, since it uses a wide array of muscles from the neck to the legs.
Since our bodies are composed mostly of water, it is also said that water is our primal element. This is why being in the water feels good and can be therapeutic.
In fact, the saying “water is the source of life” is actually very accurate when it comes to swimming. According to a study published in the International Journal of Aquatic Education and Research, swimmers had a 50 percent lower death rate than runners, walkers, or people who didn’t exercise in general.
Who can benefit from swimming?
- People with asthma – swimming actually helps increase lung capacity and breath control
- Multiple sclerosis patients - a study published in the journal titled “Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine” found that patients who suffered from multiple sclerosis and completed a 20-week swimming program experienced significant reduction in pain, fatigue, and depression
- Osteoporosis and arthritis patients – because swimming offers buoyancy and low resistance, it’s a great and safe exercise for those with osteoporosis and arthritis, helping them strengthen their bones and muscles around the joints. It’s especially helpful in slowing the progress of arthritis because it promotes joint function.
- Pregnant women – swimming has benefits for the mother as well as the unborn child
Where to swim now?
Kerry Sports Manila has resumed their gym facilities, and the open pool is now open for members and guests of Shangri-La at The Fort. It is open from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, but members should book beforehand to use the facilities. To promote social distancing, only 2 people at a time are allowed in the pool area. Visit Kerry Sports Manila to become a member. If your village clubhouse has a pool, check to see if the facilities are safe and ready to use at this time.
If you like working out in the gym but want to keep to low-impact workouts, beeline for the rowing machine. Despite its low impact, rowing trains and exercises the full body, so you’re working a lot of major muscle groups in one go.
As cardio, rowing is a serious aerobic workout and will get your heart pumping without the jarring impact on your joints. It’s also very efficient to do since it can burn up to 377 in a 30-minute workout.
Just be careful because rowing is very specific when it comes to the right form. Do it wrong and you might jeopardize your lower back. Healthline gives some tips for rowing properly:
Who can benefit from swimming?
- Pregnant women – rowing may help alleviate pressure in the hips and provide added support
- Women with bad posture – bad posture and hunching mostly affects women because they are weaker in their upper bodies, and rowing can fix that because it trains you to stay upright when you pull
- Injured runners – runners who get injured usually associates the injury to weak core, poor posture, and restricted flexibility. To improve these while on recovery, they’ll benefit so much from rowing with proper technique
Can I start rowing at home?
If you don’t want to risk going to the gym just yet, Saddle Row, the first boutique studio to offer rowing classes, has created a special Ride and Row Rental program for those who want to start or continue rowing at home.
For those who want their own machines, Saddle Row also has a Row-at-Home kit that includes a Reebok ONE GR Rower, unlimited access to Saddle Row classes for 120 days, resistance band, and saddle row merchandise.
You may have heard about this TRX suspension system that’s developed by a Navy SEAL, and used by Hollywood celebrities like Jenifer Lopez and Mary J. Blige. And we are definitely revisiting this type of low-impact workout especially now that we’re on the look-out for workouts we can do at home.
So what exactly is TRX? It’s a total-body workout that’s centered on your core and relies on your body weight to improve strength, balance, and flexibility. It uses a TRX Suspension Trainer, which are suspension straps that you can easily install in your home. They’ve been popular because the whole system allows you to modify each exercise depending on your fitness level.
Core strength is very important for everyone, especially since it helps you be less prone to injuries, prevent lower back pain, and improve posture.
Who can benefit from TRX?
- Beginners – those starting with their fitness journey will benefit from TRX because it’s easy to scale up the difficult of the exercises as you go
- Seniors – TRX is a highly effective way to decrease or manage the risk of chronic disease or disability, including fall prevention, while staying gentle on the joints
- Those with ankle pain and plantar fasciitis – those with flat feet or super high arches will find that some exercises can be painful or hard to do, but TRX can help train your ankles and arches, and improve joint stability
Where to buy the TRX Suspension Trainer?
You can start your TRX training at home with the TRX Home2 System, which comes with the full suspension training system, door anchor, suspension anchor, mesh carry bag, and a free one-year subscription to the TRX app to develop your training program.
You can get a set for your home gym from Sport Fit Inc., the official distributor of TRX in the Philippines.
Yoga is one of the most popular low-impact workouts—and for good reason. In the words of Ann Swanson, certified yoga therapist and author of Science of Yoga, “Yoga doesn’t just affect your muscles and bones; it affects every single system of your body.” So from sleep to energy levels and from your brain to your balance, yoga has plenty to offer your body and your mind.
Physically, yoga is a good low-impact workout that you can tailor fit to your practice, depending on your skill or activity level. What’s great about yoga is that it increases real-world fitness, meaning you can function properly and strongly in everyday scenarios because instead of focusing on just one aspect, it improves your balance, strength, mobility, and flexibility.
the physical benefits of yoga, it also helps calm the nervous system, lower
stress, manage anxiety, boost your mood, improve your focus and cognition, and
Who can benefit from yoga?
- Those with posture and back problems – yoga practice is very good in strengthening the core, which is essential in supporting the spine so you’ll have better posture and better spine health
- Those suffering from osteoporosis and bone degradation – As we age, our bones degrade but according to research by Dr. Loren Fishman, a physician and yogi, even 10 minutes of daily yoga can improve bone density in the spine and hip bones
- Midlife and seniors – According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, they found that the collective physical and mental benefits of yoga can help improve quality of life in older adults
- Those who are depressed and down – Like with other exercises, yoga releases feel-good hormones like adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine during and after practice, so yoga can help you turn your mood and shift your perspective
- Pregnant women – prenatal yoga and restorative yoga are good practices for pregnant women to keep their strength and flexibility even during and after pregnancy
How to start your yoga practice?
The best thing about yoga is you can do it anywhere! You just need a mat, some space, and you’re ready to go.
Guidance is very important in yoga because the poses and flows are very specific in form so you don’t hurt yourself. This is why if you’re just starting on your journey or want to better your yoga practice, you can join virtual classes offered by Yoga Plus, one of the premiere yoga studios in the metro.
To start your virtual yoga sessions, you can join the YogaPlus Virtual Studio to gain access to live classes daily, or watch pre-recorded classes at your own convenience. Visit YogaPlus.ph for more details.
Many confuse yoga and Pilates, but while these two practices have a lot in common, Pilates is more about strengthening while yoga focuses more on flexibility. Pilates is about relaxing and contracting the muscles, and incorporating breathing into the technique to encourage oxygen flow into the muscle groups, so you can build a long, lean, and strong body without bulking up.
Just like yoga, Pilates has several benefits for holistic well-being, building increased awareness between the mind and body, promoting weight loss, and increasing energy.
Who can benefit from Pilates?
- Arthritis patients – strengthening the abdominal muscles and other muscle groups can take the pressure of painful joints and help with mobility
- Those with lower back pain – Several research studies have suggested that Pilates can be effective for relieving lower back pain, especially since it can improve core strength and help with managing pain
- Those recovering from stroke and injuries – Pilates rehabilitation programs focus on identifying and fixing imbalances in the body, which may be creating compensatory patterns and pain
- Postpartum women – diastasis recti is a common condition among postpartum women and there are dedicated pilates programs that can help address that
How to start your pilates practice?
Before the pandemic, Onelife Studio was one of the premier destinations for pilates in the metro. After the pandemic closed down many establishments, Onelife started offering Onelife-at-home programs, where clients can start their pilates journey or continue their personal training from the comforts of their home.
If you want to start or continue your pilates practice virtually, but with the guidance of a licensed professional, you may check out the Onelife-at-home packages they have at theonelifestudio.com.
But if you’re ready to go on side, Onelife is actually one of the first fitness destinations who are starting to reopen their doors this year—with increased safety and precautionary protocols, of course. To book your return to the San Juan Onelife studio, visit the Onelife Instagram page or send a message to 0917-895-1762 to set an appointment.