Some types of exercise can put pressure on your joints. Activities like running and lifting have their own benefits. If you are one of the millions of people who prefer to exercise without putting strain on knees, ankles, hips or upper body joints – then low impact fitness machines could be ideal for you.
This page looks at 4 different types of low impact home fitness equipment. The pros and cons of each one are outlined below.
#1 – Elliptical Cross Trainers
These machines are known under two names. Some people call them ellipticals, others simply cross trainers. The main leg movement is in a semi-circle, which is low impact for all your leg joints. At the same time, you get a vigorous workout. In addition to the leg movements, there are poles for your arms. You exercise with these with back and forward movements. Combining legs and arm movements increases the intensity, and the number of calories you will burn per hour.
You will find that some cross trainers can also be used as exercise bikes with a small adjustment to the mechanism.
Benefits: High calorie burn, exercise for both upper and lower body and low impact movements.
Drawbacks: Elliptical cross trainers are large machines and most do not fold away.
#2 – Exercise Bikes
Static bikes have been around for decades, and remain one of the most popular options for people seeking low impact workouts. There is a huge range of models to choose from. These range from very basic ‘A-frame’ folding bikes through to machines which look almost sci-fi, with monitors, big flywheels and a sleek design.
The basic peddling motion is low impact, and can be sustained for long periods. As exercise bikes are quiet, this is an ideal way to keep fit in front of the TV. For those requiring a little more back support, you can also get recumbent bikes – where you’ll be sat back in a comfortable chair. I recommend getting a bike which allows you to change the resistance level while you cycle. This can add some much-needed variation to your routine.
Benefits: Quiet machines, you can cycle for long periods, changeable resistance
Drawbacks: Lacks variety after a while
#3 – Rowing Machines
Another machine which can offer you a full body workout, without having a jarring effect on your joints is a home rowing machine. Rowing is becoming more popular, and there are some beautifully designed rowing machines around – for example the wooden models from water-rower.
When you first start rowing you can set the resistance level low. This will allow your muscles (both legs are arms / chest) to get used to the motions. Once you up the resistance level, you will find that rowing can be an intensive form of exercise (as well as a low impact one). My recommendation is to find a folding rowing machine. These pivot, so the longer part that you slide up and down on can go vertically. This will save a lot of space between uses.
Benefits: Full cardio workout that works both upper and lower body.
Drawbacks: Larger machines, you’ll need to like the action to keep going over time.
#4 – Stepping Machines
The biggest benefit of steppers is their size. A basic unit is only 30 to 40 centimetres tall, and not too much wider. This is made up of a small frame and 2 paddles, which you alternate in a stair-climbing motion. There are bigger models, some with the capability of twisting, and others with arm bands which allow you to work your upper body.
While this is a low-impact exercise, you need to be aware that it is intensive. You will need to take your time to build your strength and experience before you can step for long periods. While the calories per hour burned looks very high compared to other forms of home fitness equipment, keep in mind that your sessions will be shorter and sharper.
Benefits: Small Units, ideal for a short yet intensive workout
Drawbacks: Difficult to sustain for longer periods.
Low Impact Fitness Equipment – Summing Up
As you have seen, there are some good options out there for people who want to exercise and keep the impacts on their joints low at the same time. One way to find out which is best for you is a quick session at your local gym. This will allow you to try out all the different formats before you pick one for home use. There are more options available, including vibration plate exercisers and under-desk ‘air-walker’ devices.
If you want to get fit and keep your joints as safe as possible, low impact home fitness equipment is definitely the way to go!
Image 3 – http://fitnessreview.co.uk/rowing-machine-reviews/
Image 2 and 4 – pixabay.com