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6 Low-Impact Cardio Exercises in 20 Minutes or Less

Mar 21, 2019

It isn’t only those with sore joints who should look for low-impact exercises. Everyone can benefit from incorporating more low-impact cardio into their routines. High-impact exercises such as running, jumping jacks and burpees are great for getting your heart rate up, but over time, these exercises can take their toll on your joints. High impact exercises can even affect your skin’s elasticity, leading to premature wrinkles.

If you’re looking for low-impact cardio exercises that you can do anywhere, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together these tried-and-tested low-impact cardio workouts that are perfect for those who want to push themselves without pushing their joints too hard.

These exercises are intended to be completed as a circuit. Complete as many reps of each exercise for 30 seconds and then move onto the next one without rest. At the end of each set of six exercises, rest for one minute than then start again. Aim to complete five rounds of the exercises. The entire workout should take no more than 20 minutes!

Low impact jumping jacks

If jumping jacks hurt your knees and make you light-headed, you’ll love this low impact alternative. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and keep your arms down at your side. Step out with your right leg while reaching your right arm up and over your body to the left. Return to the centre and repeat the same on the other side, reaching your left foot out while reaching up and to the right with your left arm. Aim for fluid movements.

Skater lunge

Now that your muscles are warm and your heart is pumping, you can move onto a lower body workout. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step back and to the left with your right leg, dropping your knee until it almost touches the floor. Move back to the centre and reverse the move, stepping back and to the right with your left leg. Aim to be fast, but don’t jump between moves. In a normal skater lunge, you would make the movement fluid by jumping between lunges, but this is easily modified to a low-impact cardio exercise.

Squat jabs

You might be familiar with this move from cardio boxing classes. This beefed up version of a squat will work your glutes, core and upper arms. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Drop down into a low squat, keeping your knees behind your toes. As you return to the top, squeeze your glutes and punch with your right arm then your left. Repeat the squat and double jabs at the top of each rep.

Reverse lunge front kick

To take the lunges up a notch, try this challenging move. Start by doing a normal reverse lunge. This means standing with your feet hip-width apart and stepping backwards with your right leg, dropping into a lunge with your right knee almost touching the floor. As you step back up, kick your right leg in front of you. Repeat with the other leg and then alternate. Focus on controlling your movements rather than trying to complete this move quickly.

Side shuffle

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees soft. Lean forward gently, keeping a straight back. Your elbows should be bent with your hands at your shoulders. Take a step to the left with your left foot and then shuffle your right foot to follow. Your feet should now be together. Now, step to the right and shuffle your left foot to follow. To make this exercise harder, try adding an exercise band to your knees (hard) or ankles (harder).

Standing crunches

If you have back problems, you might want to avoid laying on your back for a workout. This is fine, and you can still get an ab workout without hurting your back. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands behind your head. Lift your right knee up and to the side, bending your right elbow down until they touch. Repeat on the other side with your left knee touching your left elbow. Repeat as many times as you can in the 30-second interval, aiming to keep your back upright rather than dropping forward.

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