Sometimes in the course of getting that hot bod you’ve always wanted you may sustain an injury, or maybe you just haven’t reached that level of fitness where jumping jacks and burpees are something you can do. Or maybe you have bad knees and need to protect them. We all have times where low impact cardio is the way we NEED to go, because we need cardio to keep our hearts healthy. So what do you do? There are a whole host of websites that will tell you to use a stationary bike or recumbent, but what if you don’t have ACCESS to that equipment?
There’s plenty you can do, I promise you.
Walking is THE most basic form of cardio. You just need to do it quickly. I don’t mean jogging or running, just swift walking. Enough that you start to breath a little heavy. Maybe you can still hold a conversation, but it’s difficult for you. This speed will be determined by your fitness level, but you have to pay attention. If you’re not breathing a little heavy, you’re just not working hard enough. You can walk outside, on the treadmill if you have one, or even do a walking video like the ones provided by Leslie Sansone. If you want to multitask, it’s even a good idea to step quickly in place while watching TV. You’ll be lapping everyone on the couch, amirite?!
Yes, hiking is different than walking, because of elevation changes. Climbing a steep hill, even slowly, is fantastic for cranking your heart rate up. Where I live it’s pretty flat, but on the rare occasion I do get to head north or west into the nearby mountainous regions, hiking is always on my list of things to do. You don’t need any equipment at all for a hike of a few miles, save perhaps a big bottle of water, and you get to enjoy the glory of nature, too!
If your knees are in good enough shape, climbing stairs is a great way to get the blood pumping. If you don’t have stairs in your home (I only have a single flight), perhaps you could use a public parking garage, or a shopping mall, or even your office! Sometimes when the weather is bad and I’m short on steps The Hubs and I will go to our local mall and walk there, and make a special effort to take the stairs instead of the escalators. It may only burn a handful of extra calories but every little bit helps!
You don’t even need a partner, just some good tunes and a good attitude. Grab a hairbrush, crank the music and dance like nobody’s watching! And heck, if they are watching, snag ’em and make ’em jitterbug with you! My happy song is the one that runs through my head whenever I feel like dancing… and the title is appropriate: Dancin’ with Myself by Billy Idol! If you’re feeling like you need some direction with this, try a belly dancing video or look up ballroom dancing on YouTube and learn some new moves to impress your friends!
If you haven’t gotten the hint by now, YouTube is chock full of workout videos you can do for FREE without any equipment. (How many times have I mentioned Fitness Blender?) Punch, kick and block your way to an elevated heart rate! Billy Blanks is the inventor of Tae Bo, which is a full body workout combining martial arts and kickboxing. I have a series of his DVDs, of which I’ve only really watched one, but it’s fun and upbeat and will definitely make you sweat. (Author’s Note: I have noticed that the Billy Blanks video I used to do DID have a prayer at the end of the workout, so if that sort of thing bugs you, you can skip it.)
This one is last on the list because technically it requires something most people don’t have in their home: a large body of water. However, swimming is the LOWEST impact workout you could possibly do, because the water helps support your body weight and is great for people with poor joints. I, sadly, no longer have regular access to a swimming pool, but I used to be quite the swimmer when I was younger. Some day I’m going to snorkel in clear blue tropical waters again, but this time I’m wearing my heart rate monitor!
Do you utilize a form of low impact cardio that I haven’t mentioned? Please share in the comments!