Get Fit, Not Hurt: Low-Impact Workouts Explained

As the buzz around fitness grows, so does the need for sustainable and joint-friendly workout regimes. Enter the world of low-impact workouts — a realm where exercise meets longevity and fitness isn't synonymous with strain.

For many, the allure of these workouts isn't just about preserving joint health but also about the universal adaptability they offer. From seasoned athletes looking to give their joints a respite to beginners stepping into the fitness sphere for the first time, low-impact workouts cater to all. Their rising popularity doesn't stem from a trend but from a growing awareness of the importance of holistic health. 

By the end of this article, you'll understand not just the 'what' and 'how' of low-impact exercises but, more importantly, the “why.” Let's embark on this journey of achieving fitness without compromising well-being.

Understanding the Term: Low Impact

Low-impact workouts have carved a niche in the fitness world, but what exactly does the term signify? At its core, a "low impact" workout is characterized by one foot always remaining in contact with the ground, minimizing the jolting forces transmitted through the body

This stands in contrast to high-impact exercises, like running or jumping, where both feet might leave the ground, causing more strain on joints like the knees and ankles. But the definition goes beyond mere footwork. 

Low-impact exercises focus on fluid movements that limit stress and pressure on the body, especially on the joints and spine. Think of activities like swimming, cycling, or pilates. They allow continuous motion, seamlessly blending strength and endurance training without harsh, abrupt movements.

Moreover, it's crucial to differentiate between low impact and low intensity. While the former relates to the physical strain on joints, the latter pertains to the workout's vigor. Many low-impact exercises, like rowing or elliptical training, can be quite intense, proving that you don’t need to pound the pavement to break a sweat.

The Importance of Reducing Impact

Incorporating low-impact exercises into your regimen isn’t just a passing fitness trend; it's a health imperative. Every year, countless individuals face sports-related injuries resulting from repetitive high-impact activities. These injuries hinder one's fitness journey and can lead to long-term health issues.

Our joints, particularly the knees, hips, and ankles, bear the brunt of our body weight and the additional forces exerted during exercise. Over time, consistent high-impact workouts can wear down cartilage, leading to conditions like osteoarthritis. By opting for low-impact activities, you significantly reduce the risk of such degenerative joint diseases.

Beyond joint health, reducing workout impact can benefit cardiovascular health. Activities like swimming or cycling provide excellent aerobic workouts, promoting heart health without the risk of overstrain. 

Plus, these workouts are more inclusive. They cater to individuals with certain health conditions, previous injuries, or those at different fitness levels, making it possible for a broader audience to stay active and healthy.

In essence, low-impact workouts pave the way for sustained fitness and safeguard against potential pitfalls. Prioritizing them is not about choosing the easy path but rather about ensuring a longer, healthier journey in the realm of physical fitness.

Advantages of Low-Impact Workouts

In a world where hardcore boot camps and marathon running often steal the limelight, it's easy to overlook the profound benefits of low-impact workouts. However, these exercises offer many advantages, standing out as a viable, effective, and sometimes even superior option for many fitness enthusiasts. 

Let's delve into some of the compelling reasons to incorporate low-impact workouts into your routine.

Joint Preservation

As previously touched upon, the diminished strain on joints is at the top of the list. Low-impact workouts prevent the excessive wear and tear associated with jarring motions. 

This is crucial for individuals with pre-existing joint conditions or those susceptible to joint issues due to age, weight, or genetics. With less pounding, there's less risk of inflammation, pain, and long-term damage.

Muscle Engagement

Don't mistake low impact for low effectiveness. Exercises like pilates or aqua aerobics engage multiple muscle groups, often simultaneously. This full-body engagement tones and strengthens muscles and boosts caloric burn.

Reduced Risk of Injury

By their very nature, low-impact exercises are less risky. The smooth and controlled movements associated with these workouts minimize the chance of sprains, fractures, and muscle tears. This is particularly advantageous for beginners who might not have the muscle strength or technique for more aggressive workouts.

Flexibility and Balance

Many low-impact activities, such as yoga or tai chi, prioritize flexibility and balance. These exercises stretch the muscles and improve joint mobility, leading to a wider range of motion. Additionally, they enhance proprioception — the body's ability to sense its position in space — which reduces the risk of falls and improves overall coordination.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Think you need to run to get your heart rate up? Think again. Cycling, swimming, and rowing are just a few low-impact exercises that offer stellar cardiovascular workouts. These activities improve heart and lung health, increasing stamina and endurance over time.


Low-impact workouts are for everyone. Whether you're a senior citizen looking to stay active, a pregnant woman wanting to keep fit, an individual recovering from an injury, or even a seasoned athlete needing a recovery day — these exercises can be tailored to fit any need. Their adaptability ensures everyone can benefit without feeling left out or overwhelmed.

Mental Wellness

It's not just about the physical. Many low-impact exercises' rhythmic and often meditative nature provides a mental respite. Activities like yoga or gentle dance classes can be therapeutic, reducing stress and anxiety and promoting overall well-being.

Cross-Training Potential

For those engaged in high-intensity sports or activities, low-impact workouts serve as an excellent cross-training option. They allow athletes to continue training, focusing on different muscle groups, without adding additional strain to their primary sport's impacted areas.

Longevity in Fitness

Lastly, the sustainable nature of low-impact exercises means they can be a lifelong companion. Unlike high-impact activities, which might become challenging or risky with age or injury, low-impact workouts can adjust and evolve with an individual's changing needs, ensuring fitness remains a constant throughout life.

Popular Low-Impact Exercises and Their Benefits

In bustling cities like New York, where the fast-paced rhythm of life often translates to high-intensity workouts, there's a rising trend embracing the benefits of low-impact exercises. These exercises offer the intensity many crave without the stress on joints. 

Let's explore some popular low-impact workouts and their unmatched benefits.


A favorite among many, pilates offers a total body workout. Pilates engages various muscle groups by focusing on controlled movements and proper form. 

If you're going to a class, the Form Stash Hi-Rise Compression Tights, with their deep side pocket, can be handy for keeping small essentials. The aerobic nature of some sequences ensures a calorie burn, while the overall practice enhances flexibility and reduces the risk of injury.

Elliptical Training

Ellipticals are the answer for those who enjoy a heart-pumpingcardio exercise without the high impact of running. These machines simulate a running motion without your feet leaving the pedals, meaning less stress on the joints. Moreover, with adjustable resistance, one can easily turn an elliptical session into a high-intensity, low-impact cardio workout.


The rowing machine, often referred to as the “rower,” isn't just for those who fancy boating. It provides a full-body workout, engaging the glutes, hamstrings, and upper body. The rhythmic motion increases the heart rate, making it an excellent cardiovascular exercise while still being low-impact.

Water Aerobics

A splashy alternative, water aerobics is among the best exercises for those wanting a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise. Sporting our Propel One Piece can help support your performance in the water, allowing for optimal flexibility.

Tai Chi

Originating from ancient China, Tai Chi is more than just a martial art. It's a form of wellness that intertwines the mind and body. The slow, deliberate movements provide a low-intensity workout, enhancing balance and flexibility. It's also beneficial for reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

Low-Impact HIIT

You can still get a heart-pumping workout by swapping out high-impact exercises like jumping jacks with alternatives such as squats, lunges, and push-ups. Engaging in such routines while wearing our Power Recovery Compression Tights can promise fresher legs after an intense workout.

Stationary Bike

Cycling offers a fantastic low-impact cardio workout. Whether pushing yourself with a HIIT workout on the bike or taking it steady, cycling can be tailored to your desired intensity. Not only does it target the glutes and hamstrings, but it also offers significant calorie-burn potential.

Strength Training with Dumbbells:

While high-impact exercises often utilize body weight, introducing dumbbells can enhance a low-impact routine. Dumbbells allow for targeted strength training, from squats holding weights to bicep curls. 

Remember to maintain hip-width distance when doing exercises like squats to ensure proper form and to consult with a CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) if you're unsure of the right techniques.


Though often perceived as purely a relaxation or flexibility routine, yoga can be much more. With various forms ranging from the more relaxing to the intense power yoga, it can serve as both a strength-building and a low-impact cardio workout. Holding poses like plank can engage the entire body, while flow sequences can elevate the heart rate.


Last but not least, walking is a simple yet effective low-impact exercise. Donning our cozy Commute Trackpants, ideal for cooler mornings, can ensure comfort during long strolls through Central Park or a brisk morning walk.

Tips for Maximizing the Benefits of Low-Impact Workouts

While low-impact exercises offer a world of benefits, it's essential to approach them with the right mindset and strategies to truly reap their rewards. 

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your low-impact workouts:

  • Set Clear Goals: Whether aiming for toning, flexibility, or cardiovascular health, having a clear goal will motivate you. Consider discussing your objectives with a certified personal trainer. They might recommend gear, like the Refresh Recovery Compression Tights, to support muscle recovery post-workout.

  • Prioritize Proper Form: Maintaining the right posture and technique is essential. For exercises requiring leg movement or stability, our Power Recovery Compression Tights can provide support and maintain healthy circulation.

  • Vary Your Routine: Introduce diversity in your exercises. If your routine includes strength training or core workouts, the Core Tri Tank is a versatile addition to your workout attire, ensuring you remain cool and comfortable.

  • Incorporate Strength Training With Appropriate Gear: If your low-impact workout includes short bursts of strength training, the Force Compression Shorts can offer the support your muscles need. They’re designed to maintain healthy blood flow and soothe muscle fatigue.

  • Stay Hydrated and Monitor Recovery: After a session of water aerobics or low-impact HIIT, muscle recovery is crucial. The Recovery Flex Arm Sleeve can be a godsend for those who engage their upper body, supporting muscle repair and soothing soreness.

  • Track Your Progress: Modern fitness trackers can be invaluable, allowing you to monitor heart rate, calorie burn, and overall progress. It's about understanding how your body reacts to different routines and how our gear, like compression tights or sleeves, can support performance and recovery.

  • Warm Up and Cool Down Properly: Every workout should start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Incorporate stretches that work well with your attire, allowing products like our compression tights to support muscle prep and recovery.

  • Stay Consistent: Routine is the key. Whether it's a daily morning Tai Chi session or a thrice-weekly cycling class, consistency paired with our performance gear will yield optimal results over time.

  • Listen to Your Body: Even with the reduced strain of low-impact workouts, it's vital to be attuned to your body. If an exercise feels uncomfortable or if you feel sore, our recovery-focused gear can soothe any discomfort and support overall muscle repair.

  • Enjoy the Journey: The beauty of low-impact workouts lies in the journey. Explore, enjoy, and always ensure you're equipped with the best gear to make your workout experience comfortable and effective.

A Final Word

At 2XU, we believe in empowering your fitness journey without compromising on health. Low-impact workouts are not just a trend but a lifelong commitment to well-being. With their incredible versatility, joint-friendly nature, and myriad of health benefits, they truly align with the needs of the modern fitness enthusiast. 

Whether you're just starting out or looking to add diversity to your routine, low-impact workouts, complemented by our specialized gear, are a surefire way to enhance your fitness path. Invest in yourself, embrace the low-impact lifestyle, and enjoy the journey toward a healthier you.


5 Benefits of Low-Impact Exercise | Grady Health

Warm Up, Cool Down | American Heart Association

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Benefits of Physical Activity | CDC