What is a low impact workout? I hope you’re ready to head out on your daily walk. Are you in need of something low impact due to your current fitness, joints or age? Well, a daily walk is definitely a top choice. Let’s break it down while your lacing up your sneakers.
What makes walking low impact?
First, we’d need to get a little deeper into what is considered low impact exercise.
According to the American Council on Exercise, low-impact workouts are fluid movements that tend to be easy on the joints. Basically, your feet stay in contact with the a firm surface such as the ground for the full time. This puts less pressure on areas like the knees, hips, and ankles, while also making less demands on the lungs and heart. So, to break that down more simply, low impact means less stress on your overall body.
So, an average stroll in the park is a perfect example of a low impact exercise.
Who benefits the most from low impact activity?
Now, if you are in decent shape for fitness, low impact may not be what you want to do every day. If you’re looking to push yourself and get your heart rate into 70+% or your max reccomended range a walk may be too tame. If you’re used to high intense sports play then a daily walk is likley not going to give you the workout your looking for. It’s still something you should do at least once a week on a rest day, though.
People who will and do benefit from walking 4+ times a week as their regular exercise and physical activity are still plentiful. People who are just starting exercise or getting back into it, people who are obese or heavier set with less muscle mass, people dealing with injuries or more mild physical disability and people who may be elderly and needing to maintain health.
Where should you start?
Well, you’re raring to go and want to know how far or how har dyou should push on your first outing. Well, you really have to be your own judge on these types of things. How far was your last walk that wasn’t specifically for for your health and fitness? Some good examples could be going to an amusment park or fair, or perhaps it was a walk in a large store or mall.
You usually can estimate the size of these types of places and you can also give a logical guess to how much of that space you actually covered. Let’s try to average a big box store like WalMart. Let’s say the average aisles in such a store add up to about 1,400 feet. So, let’s say you covered the store more or less twice and walked about 2,800 feet. You likely didn’t do this without pauses to look over and pick up items or chat with someone for a few minutes. There are 5280 feet in a mile.
So, in a more easy going fashion you walked a little over half a mile plus to and from your vehicle. In your estimation, you should be able easily cover 3/4 of a mile without issue. Well, I’d say start smaller.
Why a half mile?
Why would I tell you to begin your walking adventure with such a lackluster distance? Well, I have good reasons. To start with, we already mentioned, you likely aren’t on a steady pace walking through a store or covering a fairgrounds. In a store you may also have a cart that is taking a bit of the pressure of your core. You also, don’t want to end up with sore muscles. Even if you have the endurance to cover 3/4 or a whole mile it’s best to work your way up for your muscles, including the fist size one in your chest.
If you breeze through a half mile walk you can always increase that tomorrow or the next day. If you end up sore or with exhaustion just after your first walk this may very well lead to you wanting to delay the next walk or give up entirely. Whereas if you feel good after your walk you’ll feel encouraged to do it again. I recommend adding Add a little distance after every other walk you take for the first couple weeks. So in 8 total walks over 2 weeks you should go from about .5 or a mile to about 1.2 miles or so. Or, if you geniuenly can and do start at more like a mile then you should end up at about 2.5 miles.
If this seems to quick on increases to you there is no shame in increasing every 3rd or 4th walk instead. Do what works best for you first and formost.
Ready to set out?
We’ve covered the benefits of low impact exercise and how to get started. Have you looked up your local area and what is about .25 of a mile from your home? That should be your first destination to make a .5 round trip. When I was first starting out, I could barely cover a quarter of a mile round trip and it was a big accomplishment for me to work my way up to the .65 round trip to the local grocery store where I buy locally made ice cream. So, if you are more like I was know that over time you can work your way up to 5+ miles with time and work.
Can’t wait to see you strolling along,