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Understanding Low Impact Exercises (LIE)

By Oyinkan Talabi (BodyWorks Fitness)
25 April 2015   |   4:15 am
AFTER many years of working out intensely and working with people who have injured themselves doing the same, I have decided that high intensity is not always the way forward for certain people and lifestyles. The Low impact method is now my mantra.
Water works- image source godolphin

Water works- image source godolphin

AFTER many years of working out intensely and working with people who have injured themselves doing the same, I have decided that high intensity is not always the way forward for certain people and lifestyles. The Low impact method is now my mantra.

So, what are Low Impact Exercises (LIE), I hear you ask? They are exercise movements where one foot (or both) stays on the ground at all times or a machine supports the whole body.

During the movement, little or no tension and pressure is placed on your joints and so in essence, they are more gentle on the body and great for the mind.

Some low impact methods that are great for all age groups and fitness levels include:

Walking
Brisk walking is the most stress-free cardio exercise out there. Just put on your trainers and hit the road or treadmill.

The thing with walking (and really every exercise method) is your intensity and consistency. Start slowly and build up your time. For example, start with 20 minutes, then 40, then 60 minutes.

From this point, your focus should then be increasing your pace by the turnover of your steps, as opposed to taking larger steps. I don’t believe in carrying weights or strapping them on as you walk, as this leads to imbalances in your stride, especially if your get tired during your session.

Leave the weights for a separate session.

Water Works
Swimming and water aerobics are great, if you like being wet…. Doing exercise in the water is great for conditioning the muscles, with no impact on the joints, because the buoyancy of water works against the gravitational pull.

Stretching and strengthening exercises are less painful. In fact, you usually don’t feel anything in your muscles till hours after.

Weights
Most strength training exercises are low-impact and you still work up bucket loads of sweat while burning unwanted fat and keeping the body toned.

They are very key to every fitness programme. So, bring on the kettle bells and dumbells!

Cycling
This is another fun low impact method. Cycling outdoors is great, but have you tried a spin class (in door cycling)?

My goodness! Those can be quite intense and fun.

Pilates
This is my personal favourite low impact exercise method. It works your muscles and your skeleton, improving both strength and flexibility. It is just simply amazing.

Pilates is actually a functional exercise method because the principles that you learn from it can be applied to your everyday life and other exercises.

Principles like breathing, core strength and engagement. I will share some more on the Pilates method as we go along.

LIE must not be confused with No Intensity. In fact, some of the intensity levels they bring challenges both your body and mind in ways you never imagined.

Many low impact exercises can burn more fat and more calories than the older traditional high impact exercises. For example, spinning (indoor cycling) burns more calories than a traditional aerobics class.

A major thing with low impact exercises is that injuries and strains, especially in the lower body, are reduced.

I have found that if you are not a workout junkie, LIE is the best way to start the fitness journey and stay on it longer. You only have one body and your fitness journey should be for a lifetime and so you must be gentle on your body so you can work out over a longer period of time

What exercise method are you a fan of? And why? Love your body…. (bodyworks@gmail.com)