A Guide to Low-Impact Cardio: Benefits and Exercises

Low-impact cardio exercises have grown in popularity for fitness enthusiasts at every level. Gentle on the joints and effective in improving cardiovascular health, supporting weight loss, reducing stress and so much more, low-impact cardio offers countless benefits for anyone looking to get into better shape.  

Whether you want a workout that preserves your athletic longevity, helps you recover from an injury or boosts your overall wellness, low-impact cardio can support you in living your best life. 


What is Low Impact Cardio?

Low-impact cardio provides effective, heart-healthy workouts without the strain, wear and tear often associated with high-impact exercises like running or jumping. By always keeping at least one foot on the ground, low-impact workouts put minimal stress on the body’s bones and joints.  
With many versatile exercise options, low-impact cardio workouts can be easily tailored for different fitness levels or interest areas. Here are a few of the most popular low-impact cardio exercises:

5 Popular Low-Impact Cardio Exercises

  • Walking: From a brisk loop around the block to an intense inclined session on the treadmill, the seemingly simple act of walking can provide an incredibly effective low-impact workout. Even a daily 30-minute dog walk can help improve cardiovascular health without stressing the joints.
  • Cycling: Whether in a spin class, on a stationary bike, or along a trail, getting exercise from cycling provides a fun and impactful workout that gets your heart rate up with minimal strain on your knees and hips.
  • Swimming: For those looking to build full-body strength and stamina through low-impact exercise, few are as effective as getting into the pool. Water supports every part of the human body, so swimming is particularly beneficial for those with joint pain or mobility issues.
  • Yoga and Pilates: While yoga and Pilates are separate practices, both low-impact exercises focus heavily on gaining strength and flexibility while learning about stretching, breathing and relaxation techniques. While often meditative, yoga and Pilates can also provide an intense workout for those looking to sweat.
  • Elliptical Training: The easy-to-use elliptical machine provides a great cardio workout with an extremely low impact on bones and joints. This makes it an excellent alternative for walkers and runners with hip, knee and ankle issues and those with conditions like arthritis.


From innovative recovery options to certified Personal Trainers, explore the wide variety of fitness amenities at EōS!


The Top Benefits of LowImpact Cardio

No matter your fitness background, low-impact cardio workouts are incredibly easy to start and offer many advantages over high-impact activities. With benefits for nearly anyone, from lifelong athletes looking to preserve joint function to fitness first-timers beginning their weight loss journey, low-impact cardio provides practical, accessible and powerful exercise opportunities. 
Low-impact cardio exercises are especially beneficial for anyone wanting to: 

  • Maintain Healthy Weight: Low-impact workouts effectively burn calories, which is essential for anyone looking to lose weight. 
  • Build Endurance: Great for the cardiovascular system, regular low-impact cardio exercise strengthens the heart and lungs. 
  • Reduce Stress: Exercise is a great stress reliever. Integrating low-impact cardio into your routine can reduce anxiety and improve overall mental well-being. 
  • Prevent an Injury: A balance of low-impact and high-impact exercises can reduce the risk of injury, protect your bones and joints and make it easier to consistently workout for years to come. 
  • Recover from Injury: For anyone recovering from an injury or surgery, low-impact exercises can prevent exacerbating the injury while actively working to regain strength and mobility. 
  • Improve Joint Health: By involving movements that enhance the range of motion in the joints, low-impact cardio can support joint mobility and overall joint health. 
  • Increase Flexibility: Especially during activities like yoga and Pilates, low-impact exercises stretch joints and muscles to increase flexibility, reduce injury risk and improve overall body functionality.  


Kickstart Your Low-Impact Cardio Routine

Ready to begin your low-impact cardio journey? Consider this simple treadmill exercise routine, which can fit most fitness levels. If anything feels too intense, adjusting the speed, incline or resistance is always okay.

30-Minute low-impact treadmill workout

  • Warm-Up (5 minutes) 
    1. Start with the incline at 0%. 
    2. Gradually increase the speed until you’re at a brisk yet comfortable pace.  
  • Steady Walk (10 minutes)  
    1. After you feel warmed up, increase the speed to a more challenging pace. Your heart rate should be elevated, and you should be able to hold a conversation comfortably. 
    2. Keep the incline at 0%. 
  • Incline Walk (10 minutes)  
    1. Maintain your current walking pace. 
    2. Move up to a 1% incline and gradually work up to a 5% incline. 
    3. Increase the incline by 1% every two minutes until you hit 5%. 
    1. Reduce the incline back to 0%. 
    2. Slow your pace back to an easy walk to decrease your heart rate. 
    3. Congrats! You’ve completed a full low-impact cardio workout. 

Need some extra encouragement? Stream or download 120 BPM, an EōS custom Spotify playlist we created to motivate you through your low-impact workouts.


Empower Your Fitness Journey with Low-Impact Cardio

Low-impact cardio exercises enhance your overall fitness while being gentle on your body. At EōS Fitness, we’re here to support your low-impact fitness journey every step of the way. By becoming a Member, you’ll experience a gym environment packed with motivating certified Personal Trainers, inspiring low-impact Group Fitness Classes, top-notch workout equipment and a welcoming community.

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