Low-Impact or High-Impact? The Choice is Yours!
By Donna Stark
It is no secret that investing your time in physical activities is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It's a great way to increase your strength and mobility, while also reducing the risk of chronic disease, injuries, and weight gain. And it doesn't take a huge time commitment to reap all of its benefits either. In fact, all you need is at least 30 minutes a day of some type of exercise. Now that doesn't sound too bad, does it? But which do you choose? You've heard the terms high-impact and low-impact, but do you know the difference between the two? And how do you tell which one is right for the goals you want to reach?
High-impact exercise is generally a better way to burn calories than low-impact because it is more intense and expends more energy. It's a form of exercise that puts a lot of quick and firm downward pressure on the body. When people talk about high-impact workouts, they usually mention running, jumping, cross-fit, or cardio-dancing. Basically, it's an exercise where both feet are off the ground at the same time.
The benefits of high-impact exercises are:
- Increased bone strength and density
- Increased calorie loss
- Increased heart rate
- Improved stability, balance, and coordination
- Improved cardiovascular function
But high-impact exercises aren't for everyone. Take a look at why.
- Increased risk of overuse injuries
- Increased risk of pain for those with joint problems or arthritis
- Increased stress and strain on joints, ligaments, or tendons
- Increased difficulty for people who are overweight or obese
Low-impact exercises are those that are much gentler on the body. They are exactly as it is stated they are the types of exercises that have little to no impact on your joints. When we think of low-impact exercises, the first things to come to mind are walking, swimming, yoga, cycling, and Pilates.
The benefits of low-impact exercises are:
- Increased cardiovascular health
- Decreased joint pain and damage
- Increased weight loss
- Increased mobility
- Increased strength and endurance (built at your own pace)
Although low-impact exercise is a solution for many, it does have its limitations. Here are some of the disadvantages to it.
- Increased amount of time needed for same calorie loss as high-intensity
- Increased amount of time needed to raise heart rate
- Decreased effectiveness in building bone density and muscle mass
If you are on the fence between the two and don't have any medical conditions to worry about, why not get the best of both worlds and come up with a fitness routine that combines them both? Start by slowly adding some of those high-impact exercises into your workouts, even if it is just one at a time. And who knows? Before long, you may even get to the point of becoming a cross-fit legend at your gym!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Prosper, Tex.