Whether you are doing aerobics, stretching, yoga, or pilates, moving your body by doing any physical activity has a slew of positive health benefits.
But what about cardio? You might be wondering which type of exercise is best? The answer to this might surprise you, but it is a high-impact exercise! What runs through your mind now might be a series of buff people doing body-breaking motions or a series of “suicide” drills.
However, that is far from the truth. Because, unlike the stereotype, high-impact exercises do not necessarily mean an intensive round of physical exercise.
But that does not make this style suitable for everyone either. For some people, low-impact exercises are better due to their fitness goals and physical conditioning.
In this article, we will go through high and low-impact exercises and give you an idea of what they can do for your body.
So, let’s get started shall we, folks?
What Are the Different Impacts of Exercise?
Before we jump into the details, allow us to give you an idea of the three major types of impacts in exercise. They are:
No Impact Exercises
These types of exercises do not involve your feet leaving the ground at any time. Both feet stay in contact with the ground (For example, elliptical trainer, swimming, etc.)
Low Impact Exercises
These exercises are where one foot leaves the ground, and one remains in contact with the ground. (For example, walking, running, etc.)
High Impact Exercises
In these exercises, both the feet are off the ground at the same time. (For example, plyometrics, jumping, etc.)
What Are High Impact Exercises?
From the name, high-impact exercises are physical actions that put a lot of pressure on the body’s joints. These exercises normally involve jolting and jumping movements that keep your feet off the ground simultaneously.
Strength training helps build more muscle and subjects it to more resistance, making them grow stronger. Similarly, high-impact exercises will burn more calories faster while also getting your heart rate up.
However, this style of exercise is not for everyone.
Similar to how strength training creates more muscle when you subject your muscles to a resistance they aren’t used to, they grow stronger in response. But high-impact exercise isn’t for everyone, of course.
Not everyone enjoys the flabbergasting nature of exercises like jump rope, jogging, and so on. However, you can still do high-impact exercises if you are looking to lose a few pounds.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of High Impact Exercises?
Similar to every other type of exercise, high-impact exercises also have their set of benefits and potential risks. It is important to know these before you get started with the actual activity.
Benefits of High Impact Exercises
• The effects of high-impact exercises are perfect for cardiovascular conditioning as they can get your heart rate up in seconds
• They are an efficient style of exercise for burning calories
• They are great for improving the health and condition of your bones
• It helps to enhance bone density and slows down the process of natural bone loss
Risks of High-Impact Exercises
• High impact exercises put a lot of pressure that is almost 2.5 times more than your bodyweight
• Excess pressure gets applied to the joints and tendons
• They can cause overuse and acute injuries
• They are unsuitable for older citizens because their joints and bones are more prone to damage. Moreover, they may already have joint problems, arthritis and so on
So, before you decide to try high-impact exercise, consult with your physiotherapist to see if you can engage in these exercises safely.
When Should You Try High Impact Exercises?
High impact exercises are great for the following five reasons:
You Want to Burn Fat Fast
High impact exercises usually call for more energy. Therefore, you burn fat and calories during these workouts. So, if you are looking for a quick way to burn fat, high-impact exercises are the way to go.
You Want Something Challenging
High impact exercises, in general, take up a lot of energy as they are very intense. Therefore, you can say that these exercises are not for the faint of heart. If you want a tougher challenge and are not afraid to go the extra mile, you can try high-impact activities.
You Are Training for Events
Whether it’s a simple marathon, a football match or a fitness challenge, high-impact activities are there to help you get ready for the big day.
You Want to Enhance Bone Health
As mentioned earlier, high-impact exercises help in improving the health of your bones and joints. In fact, subjecting them to stress regularly helps them to strengthen and grow better. This way, even when you reach an older age, your bones will still be strong and will not risk an injury.
You Are Not at Great Risk for Injury
High impact activities apply a lot of pressure on the body and they are more difficult. If you already have orthopedic issues or injuries, these activities might not be the best idea for you. That also includes pregnant women, elderly citizens and people with bone disorders.
Examples of High Impact Exercises
• Jumping Rope
• Long-Distance Running
• Jumping Jack
• Froggy Jumps
• Squat Jumps
• Long Jump
• Side to Side Jumping Lunges
What Are Low Impact Exercises?
On the other hand you have low-impact exercises. These exercises do not apply as much pressure to the bones and joints as high-impact exercises. In simple terms, these exercises are gentler on the body.
These are the easiest types of exercises suitable for all levels of fitness and ranges for all people.
What Are the Benefits of Low Impact Exercise?
Low impact exercises are extremely easy on the body and can be done regularly with no stress on the body and joints.
• These exercises carry lesser risks for injuries
• Low impact workouts are best for people who are new to exercising
• They are also suited for injured athletes who are recovering
• They are centered on stability, flexibility and balance
When Should You Try Low Impact Exercises?
Low impact activities are a great style of exercising if you are:
You Have Recently Been Injured or Are Recovering
If you have recently been injured and are just recovering from it, you can consider trying low-impact activities. These exercises will help keep you in shape but will also help you recover faster.
You Enjoy Easier Exercises
Some people like exercises that are gentle on the body without putting too much stress. In this case, they can try low-impact exercises like walking or even going on a quick jog.
To Enhance Balance and Alignment
Low impact exercises like pilates and yoga can work wonders by enhancing your alignment and balance. However, at the same time, you will also be burning calories and improving your strength and power.
To Take a Quick Break from High Impact Workouts
A great way to take a break in between high-impact workouts is by doing low-impact workouts. These can also get your heart rate up and burn calories the same way as high-impact workouts. For example, you can try rowing, boxing and so on.
Examples of Low Impact Exercises
What Are the Key Differences between High Impact Exercises and Low Impact Exercises?
High impact exercises are perfect for all those looking for a challenge and enhancing bone health and density. These exercises are also great if you want to achieve a physical fitness peak.
On the other end of the spectrum, some people shy away from strenuous activities. That is because intense exercises can work out your muscles and make you feel tired faster.
Moreover, these low-impact exercises have lesser risks of injury, but they do not contribute to improving bone health.
Additionally, low-impact exercises are best suited for you if you have been down with a certain type of illness or just recovering from an injury. Practicing low impact exercises daily helps get daily movement without moving around too much and maintains your fitness level.
You can also consider trying low-impact exercises if you are new to the world of fitness and exercise. It is also an extremely great idea for people dealing with joint issues, arthritis, bone issues and so on.
However, keep in mind that high-impact exercises should not be feared and avoided. These are great workouts, especially if you want to improve the health and efficiency of your cardiovascular muscles. They also work well for burning fat and calories with shorter result periods.
When it comes to workouts, you often have a variety of choices. There are specific exercises meant for cardio, aerobics, strength training and so on.
Among these, cardio is by far the most popular type. And the best way to keep your heart in good shape is by getting yourself into high-impact exercises.
However, high-impact workouts are not for everyone. That is because each person’s physical capacity is conditioned differently to the other. Furthermore, high-impact workouts can affect your bones, joints, muscles and so on. The best way to see if these are suitable for your body is by understanding what high-impact workouts are.
If you find these too strenuous, you can always opt for a more relaxing, chilled-out workout session by trying low-impact exercises. Either way, both these types have their benefits.
If you are still on the fence about these types, reach out to your doctor. Usually, a mix between the two types will ensure you live your best healthiest life.