Just about everyone understands that cardiovascular exercise has many benefits. All of the following health advantages are achieved with regular workouts: weight loss, stress reduction, enhanced sleep, improved heart function, and lowered risk for a wide range of diseases. But many people have orthopedic issues in their back or knees that prevent them from realizing these benefits through high-impact exercises like jogging.
The good news is that there are excellent options available for getting the exercise your body craves while at the same time, minimizing the risk of any damage or deterioration to joints.
Let’s start with some definitions:
Cardiovascular exercise is any vigorous activity that increases heart rate and respiration and raises oxygen and blood flow throughout the body while using large muscle groups of the body repetitively and rhythmically. Jogging is a cardiovascular exercise. Doing arm curls with a dumbbell is not.
High impact workouts are defined as those that move both feet off the ground at the same time. Examples include running, cross-training—such as jumping off plyo boxes, jumping jacks, and almost all sports like tennis, racquetball, or basketball.
Here are some recommendations for low-impact/ joint-friendly exercise choices that will deliver the benefits described above while keeping your back and knees happy. We’ll start with “low impact” and get to “no impact” suggestions.
- If you can comfortably walk, that’s an outstanding option. Get outside for some fresh air and take in a local park or say hello to your neighbors. If the hard surfaces outdoors are more jarring than you’re comfortable with, then stop into Premier Fitness Source and let one of the certified professionals show you some treadmill options with cushioning that will reduce the impact by 40-60%. Other advantages of using a treadmill are that you control the indoor temperature and entertainment features.
- If walking is more stressful to your joints than you’d like, you can get the same cardiovascular benefits by using an elliptical machine, like the Matrix Fitness A-50 pictured below.
An elliptical trainer uses the same lower body muscles as walking for a great cardiovascular workout. An elliptical trainer eliminates the impact of your feet striking the ground (since your feet stay on the pedals) and incorporates arm resistance so you burn even MORE calories and tone additional parts of your body. These are popular exercise machines for many of those reasons!
- If standing while exercising is uncomfortable, Premier Fitness Source also has choices in recumbent bikes (think: “back rest”) or products like the Octane X-Ride (pictured below) which utilize arm muscles, while absolutely eliminating any stress on your back!
Stop into any of our locations in Georgia or Tennessee and let us consult with you to find the best recommendation to give you the health and fitness benefits you need while keeping you and your joints safe and comfortable.