While a high–intensity kickboxing class will get you sweating, plenty of low–impact options can get the job done too. If you want to boost cardiovascular health while staying gentle on your joints, try some of these low–impact aerobic options.
- Walking: A calorie burner, walking also tones the lower extremities. Bump up intensity by incorporating interval training into your workouts. Add spurts of speed-walking, or change your incline by marching up hills and ramps or climbing stairs. Even traipsing over softer terrain like grass or sand increases your work output.
- Elliptical trainer: These fancy machines provide a full–body workout thanks to the ski–pole attachments you control with your arms as your legs pedal away. While somewhat awkward at first, the gliding motion calls on several leg muscles to fire at once while pumping the heart — all without putting undue pressure on your ankles, knees, and back. And you can adjust the force against your body by raising the incline or the intensity.
- Swimming: While some studies suggest it’s hard to lose weight in the pool, swimming is still considered highly beneficial. A cardiovascular challenge, swimming also builds upper–body strength. And any increase in muscle mass actually helps your metabolism burn at a higher efficiency even when you’re at rest. Work on different strokes while in the water, and don’t be afraid to try resistance work with few rests in between.