Bad Joints? Get Fit With These 5 Low-Impact Exercises

Anyone who’s suffered from joint pain knows just how frustrating it can be. Simple, everyday tasks can become huge inconveniences, and working out can be pure misery. Whether you’re looking for guaranteed muscle gain or you’re trying to slim down, some workouts are just too high-impact for people with bad joints. But what’s a health fanatic to do when he or she still wants to maintain a fit lifestyle and stay in top shape? The good news is, there’s no need to throw in the gym towel just yet. If you suffer from joint pain, here are five low-impact exercises you should try now.

1. Step climbing

man climbing steps

Low-impact exercises, like climbing steps, are easy on bad joints. | iStock.com

From Philadelphia’s famous Rocky Steps to the StairMaster at your gym, most people know how good of a workout climbing steps can be, regardless of pace. This workout, which Prevention estimates burns 429 calories in 45 minutes, can be done just about anywhere. Live in a multi-level apartment building? Devote some time each day to running up and down the stairwell. Is there a high school football field close by? Relive your glory days and take to the bleachers. It even works for hiking trails. Choose one with a steep incline and step it out all the way to the top. Because you’re exerting energy to climb upward, this workout is considered a moderate-to-vigorous effort, which is fantastic for heart health.

2. Rowing

man on a rowing machine

Rowing is a tough cardio exercise. | iStock.com

Rowing machines are a great way to work out your arms, back, legs and core, all while bringing cardio into the mix. If you reside near a body of water or fancy yourself a river rat, go out for the real thing. Not only will you be fostering a close bond with Mother Nature in the great outdoors, but, according to Greatist, you’ll be burning up to 400 calories in an hour.

3. Yoga and Pilates

woman on beach doing yoga

Pilates and yoga are great for strength and flexibility. | iStock.com

Good for more than just your mental state and emotional well-being, yoga and Pilates are revered as top low-impact workouts. Pilates, which strengthens your core and increases flexibility, has a wide array of health benefits. According to Fitness, Pilates is amazing for your abs, can ease back pain, and is gentle on joints. Yoga, as we all know, also comes with similar health benefits. If you’re wanting to up your yoga game to something more intense, try a Hot Power Fusion class. It combines the meditative, detoxifying qualities of hot yoga and the intensity of power yoga to deliver a full-body workout.

4. Cycling

woman cycling outside

You can get a great workout on a bike. | iStock.com

Expert or novice, cycling is a powerful cardio workout without being too hard on your joints. Provided you have a proper-fitting bike, getting your sweat on while you’ve got a saddle between your legs not only burns calories and strengthens leg muscles, but also enables you to take your workout on the go. This workout can burn 381 calories in 45 minutes at a moderate pace, according to Prevention. And what’s even better? If you love group fitness, you can take an exhilarating spin class. For those interested in getting outside for some fresh air, take your skills to the roads or trails.

5. Swimming

woman pushing off the wall in a pool

Swimming is excellent exercise. | iStock.com

Like a refreshing ice pop on a hot summer day, spending the afternoon at the local swimming pool delivers a small sliver of nostalgic goodness every time. So why not make the most of it by taking a dive into the calorie-burning realm of swimming laps or doing water aerobics? According to Greatist, swimming has a ton of benefits, including strengthening your shoulders and improving lung function. Water aerobics offers a powerful workout as well, all in a venue that’s super low impact and easy on your joints.