Cardio workouts to keep your heart and joints healthy.


Love the high of a good run but not the impact on your joints. If you need to hang up your running shoes for a while, these cardio workouts are good options to explore. Who knows, you might never want to lace your runners up again.


Five low impact cardio workouts to explore


1/ Walking 


Some people think of walking simply as a mode of transportation and not something you do for fitness. Even some fitness professionals got it wrong. You can walk yourself to wellness. 


Of course it takes longer to do than a run, but there are a lot of ways to integrate walking into your daily life. You can turn your walk into an interval workout, walk to/from work or walk at your desk while you work. 


If your joints are really sore or if your balance is off, start by walking in a pool. The added buoyancy will give you the support needed to develop functional strength.


2/ Spinning and Riding


Jump on a bike and start peddling in a spin class or on the open roads. Both offer a great low impact cardio workout but are very different experiences.


If you enjoy the creativity and camaraderie of group classes, spinning is a good option. If you “enjoy suffering” as my cycling coach said to me, you’ll enjoy riding the open roads more. 


Riding is challenging because it’s you against the elements and the difficulty of the road. Riding with a good friend or a group makes it more enjoyable. When you become a cyclist, your time on the bike is everything.


3/ Swimming


Swimming is a full workout whether you swim laps or take an aqua fit class. Both are good but again, they are very different experiences.


Lane swimmers love the solitude and the rhythm of swimming lap after lap. Fins, flutter boards and other props can change the workout but the experience is pretty consistent. 


Aqua Fit is similar to a low impact aerobics class but done in the water. The creativity and camaraderie of the class make it enjoyable and the added buoyancy significantly reduces the impact on the joints.


4/ Dancing


There are so many wonderful dance classes that don’t require a partner. Zumba, Bollywood and other group dance classes offer a great workout and are so much fun to do. The time flies.


Try them all to find a style and experience that resonates with you. Check your ego at the door, do what you can until you learn the steps and enjoy it. Morning or night, it’s a fun thing to do.


5/ Rebounding


Rebounding is a great low impact workout. NASA and others have done research on the effectiveness of rebounding workouts for building bone density. It also gets the lymph system pumping which is great for those who sit most of the day.


Rebounding is similar to a low impact aerobics class or dance class in terms of the creativity and movement in the workout. You need to experiment a little to find the workouts right for you but it’s a fun way to get your cardio workout in at home.


Pilates does not make the list because it’s not a cardio workout. The practice builds strength and flexibility so that you feel stronger, longer and leaner. It can also make you feel more centered and balanced in everything else that you do in life. 


For tips on preserving your cartilage, read the discussion with Peter Gerbino MD.

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