8 Low-Impact Workouts That Make Fitness Easy


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Working out benefits your health, but you might not feel up to it some days. The good news is you don’t have to do an intense workout. Sometimes, a slight sweat is just as good for your physical and mental health. On lighter days, try doing a low-impact workout. How can you take it easy while still getting exercise worth your while? Here are eight ideas for easy, low-impact sessions.

1. Walking

There’s no easier exercise than going for a good walk. Lace up your tennis shoes and find a nice path in your area. Walking is convenient because you can do it anywhere. Your long walk could be in your backyard, shopping mall, park or any outdoor location. You’ll get low-impact cardio while soaking in the sunshine. Do you like walking in warm or cool weather?

Don’t underestimate walking if you’re trying to shed some pounds. Calories burned will depend on age, height and weight, but let’s look at an example. On average, a 6’0”, 200-lb, 30-year-old man will burn about 300 calories per hour when walking 3 miles per hour (mph).  

Take advantage of walking by listening to music or a podcast. Watch your favorite TV show on the treadmill to make exercise even more fun!

2. Swimming

Four guys diving headfirst into a swimming pool.

What’s the best way to beat the heat while you’re outside? Put on the swim trunks and do a cannonball in the pool! Swimming is fun when you’re a kid or an adult, bringing serious health benefits. When you’re in the pool, you relieve stress while keeping your heart rate up. It’s a great way to get cardio in while also building strength. 

So, how should you exercise in the pool? You can take it easy with casual swimming or take it up a notch by doing some laps. Try different swimming strokes to work on various muscle groups. You might not beat Michael Phelps’ breaststroke or backstroke, but you can get a great low-impact workout before digging into lunch by the pool. 

3. Pool Exercises

Swimming isn’t only for the strokes. You can get some terrific cardio and strength-training workouts in the water. Here are a few of our favorite exercises to do while beating the heat:

  • Jumping jacks: Jumping jacks are an excellent full-body exercise to get your blood pumping. Try them in the pool for an even better workout! Do three sets of 10 reps each for a nice low-impact pool workout. 
  • Resistance swimming: Are you already a super swimmer? Take it to the next level by doing resistance swimming. Add bands around your ankles to make this task even harder. Lift your legs to the side and see how difficult it is. 
  • Crunches: Your core is arguably your body’s most important muscle group. Try strengthening it with pool crunches on the pool deck. Put your legs on the deck and lie in the water. Bring your upper body forward to do a crunch. It’s harder but worth the effort. 

4. Cycling

Three guys ride bicycles in the countryside.

You’ll never forget how to ride a bike, so try making it a part of your exercise routine. Like walking, cycling is easy to do in most areas. Local parks, sidewalks, beaches and mountains provide miles of trails for riding. Take advantage of free National Park days and cycle while seeing America’s greatest wonders. 

Do you live close enough to work to bike? Try incorporating cycling into your commute instead of driving. Your gas-powered car emits nearly five metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, whereas your bike emits nothing. It’s a heart and environmentally-friendly exercise, so give it a chance. 

5. Yoga

Don’t discount yoga because it’s one of the most beneficial low-impact workout ideas. There’s a reason people have been practicing it for thousands of years! The first texts to include yoga go back 5,000 years in northern India. Since then, it’s been fantastic for physical and mental health. 

Yoga’s chief benefit is increasing your flexibility. Plus, it’s super beneficial if you suffer from chronic pain. Health experts say yoga reduces back pain, arthritis symptoms, headaches and other uncomfortable conditions. Try beginner yoga online or attend a class at your local fitness center. Yoga boosts your physical and mental health, so we call that a win-win low-impact workout. 

6. Stair Climbing

Going up the stairs can feel like a chore, but what if you turned it into exercise? Going up and down the stairs can make many people feel out of breath and bend over in exhaustion. Stair climbing is a simple, low-impact workout you can do anywhere. Academic buildings, shopping malls, fitness centers and other public spaces have stairs. Start slow and see how many flights you can walk. 

Stair climbing is a fantastic exercise if you find yourself skipping leg day. Duke University research shows stair climbing increases leg power and effectively maintains your weight. Choose the stairs over the elevator next time you come to that crossroad. 

7. Pickleball

You’ve probably heard all about pickleball by now. It’s one of America’s fastest-growing sports, with nearly 9 million players in the United States. The sport combines badminton, ping pong and tennis to create an easy, low-impact workout for anybody. Kids, young adults and seniors alike can reap the benefits of this workout. 

Pickleball is great for cardio because you must run around the court. However, it’s a low-impact exercise because the court is smaller than tennis. The game is fast-paced, so you get good cardio in. Then, you can work on strength training when hitting the ball. The repetitive movements keep you going with excellent exercise. 

8. Golf

Man swinging a golf club in Asheville, North Carolina.

Are you an avid golfer? This centuries-old sport is popular, especially for older adults. If you want light exercise, fun and some time for yourself, golf is right up your alley. Try walking to the nine or 18 holes you play instead of taking the golf cart. Golf’s physical activity improves your heart health and lung function. Your typical golf course will lead to about four or five miles of walking, so it’s more exercise than some may think. 

Then, there are the mental health benefits of golf. You can play by yourself and take in the quietness of the links. Or, you can round up your buddies and make it a fun bonding time.   

Find Your Favorite Low-Impact Workout

Exercise is incredible no matter how you do it. Get your body moving for an hour daily to improve your physical and mental health. Though, your activities don’t have to be straining and brutal. Sprinkle in a low-impact workout to stay motivated while getting exercise.

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