Aerobics… High Impact or Low Impact?

Aerobic exercises are activities which raise your heart rate to about 60% to 80% of it’s maximum rate and sustain that rate for a minimum of 15 minutes. The more fit you are, the longer you can work out without becoming breathless.

There are two types of aerobic exercise: low impact and high impact. Let’s talk about some of the activities that fall into each category.


Low Impact

1. Walking

Walking is an easy aerobic activity because it requires no special equipment other than some comfortable, supportive shoes. It can be done on a treadmill if you prefer to exercise indoors. As you are able to walk for longer distances at a quicker pace, your weight loss benefits increase.

2. Step Aerobics

This is a rhythmic activity that incorporates the use of an aerobic step bench.

3. Bicycling

Cycling uses the large muscles of your legs to increase your endurance in a non-weight-bearing manner. If you are worried about your balance or simply prefer exercising inside you can use a stationary bike.

4. Swimming and Water Aerobics

These activities can really speed up your heart rate! Because of the resistance of the water, you burn more calories swimming than you do walking or running the same distance. For the same reason, any exercises done in water also burn more calories than those done on dry land.

High Impact

1. Aerobic Dance

This is the exercise of choice for many women because it is so much fun! You can find a class to join or workout with a CD or DVD. To make dance into a low impact activity, make sure you keep one foot on the ground at all times.

2. Running

Because you are obviously putting forth more effort, running burns more calories than the same amount of time spent walking. It is extremely important to wear shoes that fit well and are made specifically for running to protect your body from the repeated pounding.

3. Rope Jumping

This is another high impact activity that can have excellent cardiac benefits as long as it is maintained at a moderate pace for at least 15 minutes.

It is recommended that some type of sustained aerobic activity be done for 20 – 30 minutes three times a week. In order to stay motivated and not become bored you should vary the activities.

Ask your health care professional before starting an new exercise regimen. And remember, when engaged in aerobics, if you’re breathing too hard to be able to carry on a conversation, you need to slow it down!