What is Low-Impact Activity?
Low-impact activities are exercises that require minimal force between the body and another object, such as the ground. This form of activity is generally regarded as a good starting place for those interested in becoming more physically active.
During a low-impact activity, the amount of stress placed on the joints, bones and muscles is much less than experienced with other forms of exercise. This helps to protect joints like the knees, hips and ankles from injury.
Low impact activity is recommended for people who are:
- New to exercise
- Have a history of joint pain, arthritis or chronic pain
- Are pregnant
The American Heart Association recommends that every healthy adult engage in at least 30 minutes of activity daily. To reach this goal, you may consider engaging in low-impact activity for several small increments every day, such as three 10 minute walks.
Types of Low Impact Activity
Many forms of low-impact activities are aerobic. Also known as cardiovascular activity, this is a form of exercise that targets the largest muscle groups in the body—like the heart.
Low impact aerobic activities are beneficial in enhancing blood circulation, reducing risk of heart disease and encouraging weight loss. They are also proven to boost mental health and naturally increase energy levels.
Examples of low impact activity include:
- Elliptical workouts
There are several characteristics that differentiate low-impact activity from other moderate and high intensity exercises. Low-impact activities require little to no jumping, pounding or striking. Reducing these actions will reduce your risk of developing an injury. While engaging in any form of activity, it is recommended you wear proper clothing and footwear to reduce risk of injury even further.
As you lose weight, develop strength and become more comfortable moving, you can gradually increase your level of activity. Before increasing the intensity level of your workout, speak with your weight loss doctor to ensure that your risk of injury is minimal.
Exercise vs. Incidental Activity
When you are active, your body uses more calories, and this helps you maintain a healthy weight. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. This is why regular activity is a fundamental component of any successful weight loss program.
There are two primary forms of physical activity, and both can help you control your weight. They are:
- Incidental activity
- Planned exercise
Benefits of Exercise
Adding an exercise routine to your medical weight loss program can encourage long-term weight management. Exercise encourages weight loss by burning calories, toning muscle and improving metabolic health.
Getting Started with Exercise
During your medical weight loss program, Dr. Primack, Dr. Ziltzer and Dr. Rodarte will provide you with the education and support to begin an exercise routine. Exercising is a key factor to optimizing and maintaining weight loss during your program, so it is important to get started and stick with it. Regular physical activity can not only help with your weight but also reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance, coordination, sleep habits and even your self-esteem. However, if you’re accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle, it may be difficult to determine just how to get started with physical activity.
Benefits of Exercising Outdoors
In the early morning before the heat of the Arizona sun takes hold, there is no better time to take the fitness aspect of your weight loss program outdoors. The gym is great when it’s too chilly outside to work out but when the sun is shining and the air is fresh exercising outdoors can revitalize your body and mind:
Swimming while Trimming
A swimming pool might not be your first thought when you think about weight loss — but perhaps it should be, especially during the hot days in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Swimming is a one-of-a-kind workout. Not only is it a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise, but it tones and firms muscles in a non-jarring way. It ignites metabolism, burns calories, trims inches and builds strength and stamina — all without stress on your joints. For instance, one hour of swimming laps burns more than 500 calories in a 200-pound person, according to the Mayo Clinic. Besides all of those beneficial factors, it’s a fun activity.
Walking for Health in Scottsdale
Scottsdale area residents who are participating in a medical weight loss program already have a great head start on dropping pounds quickly. To really jump-start their weight loss, many people choose to add walking to their exercise routines or even to use walking as their primary mode of exercise.