Exercises for Resilient Bodies
With the popularity of running marathons and other extreme, high-intensity, high-impact exercises to choose from, it can be easy to overlook the lower-impact exercises whose benefit can be as much or even greater than their high-impact counterparts.
What is a low-impact exercise?
A low-impact exercise is one that is less jarring on the body and less intense on the joints. Because this type of work requires the body to work harder to reach a higher heart rate, it is actually beneficial for the body overall, especially in building bone density. Low-impact activities usually involve both of your feet in contact with the ground.
What is a weight-bearing exercise?
A weight-bearing exercise is one that forces the entire body to work against gravity. Although swimming and bicycling are excellent cardio workouts, neither is a weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercises are best for building bone mass to avoid osteoporosis and bones that easily fracture.
Lifting weights is not the same as performing weight-bearing exercise.
The skeleton must be able to support the entire weight of the body, so the bones that make up the skeleton should ideally have a larger mass, making them strong enough to do a variety of activity. Throughout a lifetime, the entire body should be strong enough to move in smooth synchronization because all muscles are utilized and working together. Lifting weights focuses on increasing strength in certain areas, not overall, making certain areas susceptible to weakness and therefore injury as you age.
The Difference between Low-Impact and Low-Intensity
A low-impact exercise is not the same as a low-intensity workout. Low-impact seemly means less stress on joints, and is no indication of how hard your heart is working
A high-intensity exercise is one that substantially increases your heart rate. It will usually have you sweating within the first few minutes of the workout. Not all low-impact exercises are low-intensity and not all high-impact exercises are high-intensity.
Low-Impact and Weight-Bearing Exercises:
Racquet Sports (Tennis, Squash, Ping-Pong)
Why choose these low-impact workouts if they burn less calories per hour than a high-impact exercise?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing a high-impact workout a few days a week. High-impact exercises can be a good addition for people looking to lose weight, but they can also be dangerous to those who are seriously overweight, or who have low bone density. The large amount of stress on bones can eventually lead to tears and other more serious joint problems that could require surgery or even disability down the road.
Focusing on daily low-impact, high-intensity, and weight-bearing exercises will not only increase your overall health, but will keep your body at optimal functioning and power for a lifetime.