When we think of cardio, running is often the first thing that comes to mind. Running is a great form of exercise, however, it isn’t the right solution for everyone. From beginners who haven’t built a base of strength yet to those with arthritis, high impact movements like running aren’t a good fit.
Cardio, by definition, actually means “from the heart.” Therefore, from an exercise perspective, it is anything that gets your heart rate up. This means there are plenty of low- or no-impact activities you can do to accomplish this goal. Make cardio easier on your knees while still benefiting your heart with these five moves.
Walking is a great form of cardio that we already know how to do, but you have to do it briskly or find a way to push yourself. The heart is a muscle and, like your biceps, gets stronger only with challenge. Make your walk more challenging by increasing the incline on the treadmill or wearing a weighted vest on your outdoor walks.
Dance lets you sweat and de-stress. Have you seen the transformations on Dancing with the Stars? If ballroom isn’t your thing, try a hip-hop or swing class. You can always crank up your favorite tunes and get crazy in your living room.
Bounce your way to cardiovascular fitness with a mini trampoline. I have clients who are former runners who can still jog on a trampoline because the impact is minimized.
I love unconventional cardio like kettlebell swings or medicine ball slams. These tools are perfect for high intensity interval training (HIIT). These exercises also feel like play and have no impact on the knees because your feet never leave the ground.
Change an exercise you already know by taking the jump out. For example, do a jumping jack by making the “jack” motion without the jump. Step side to side while lifting your arms up and out, a motion I call Scare the Bear. Make the heart work harder by using big muscles and making the heart pump to both the upper and lower body at the same time. Add these moves to your HIIT workout of slams and swings.
These options are kinder on your knees but will get your heart rate up in no time! What’s your favorite no impact or low impact cardio?