When it comes to exercising there are literally hundreds of exercises you can do to help you get in shape, but if you suffer from pain, somewhere in your body, your options may be drastically cut.
It could be knee pain, hip pain or all-round joint pain or you could be recovering from a muscular injury that is sensitive to move on, so you will need to think carefully about what exercises you can and can’t do and how they will impact your body.
In this article I am going to look at the best gym machines that will help you to work out at a lower impact, reducing stress on your body while still burning calories and helping you to improve your fitness.
What is Low Impact Exercise?
Low impact exercise is an activity that is easy on your joints and which doesn’t put extra stress on your body. Think about running on the road, and the force which passes through your feet, ankles, knees, and hips, compared to running in the pool, and performing the same action, but without putting your body through that type of stress.
That’s a low impact exercise, one which could easily be completed by someone with ankle, knee or hip pain and while the exercises in this list may not plunge you into water, they all offer a low impact alternative to exercise, read on to see which ones are the best for you.
1. Rowing Machines
Rowing machines are a fantastic way of completing a tiring, full-body workout that targets multiple muscles in the body, as well as working your cardiovascular system and helping you to improve your all-round fitness. There’s minimal pressure on your ankles and knees and can be completed by almost anyone wanting to workout. A 150-pound person, completing 30 minutes of moderate rowing can expect to burn 238 calories in this time.
2. Steppers and Stair Climbers
Steppers and stair climbers are a great way of working your legs and completing a really challenging workout, without putting pressure on your joints.
It’s a fantastic cardio workout that can be adjusted in intensity and is suitable to provide a testing session for users of all ability levels.
A 150lb person working for 30 minutes on the stair climber can expect to burn approximately 300 calories in 30 minutes.
3. Recumbent Bike
Recumbent bikes are a great way to reduce pressure felt on your ankles, knees, hips, and back and with a step-through feature that makes getting on and off the bike very simple a recumbent bike is accessible by everyone. The seat is often excessively cushioned, for ultimate comfort, and with an adjustable set-up, you can find the right position for you, helping to make your workout more enjoyable and easier on your joints.
A 150lb person exercising moderately for 30 mins on the recumbent bike can expect to burn 238 calories.
4. Air Bike
Thanks in part to Crossfit and the popularity of ‘box’ gyms that run group training sessions, Assault bikes have become much more mainstream and can now be seen in gyms all around the world.
The Assault bike is brutal, but don’t think for one second that just because it is low impact, that it is an easy workout to complete. You sit on the bike, similar to an upright, stationary bike, before pumping your arms and legs at the same time and trying to achieve certain milestones.
Unlike traditional cardio machines, you won't be able to stay on the air bike for too long as it’s just so hard. Instead, most workouts revolve around completing a set number of calories on the bike before moving on.
One of the best cardio workouts around and one of the most efficient at burning calories, quickly, it’s not impossible to burn 20, 30 or 40 calories a minute (or more), meaning you could be well on your way to burning 300-400 calories in under 30 minutes. Although it’s also worth considering that you won't be able to work continuously on the bike, so you will also have to factor in rest time.
5. Ski Erg
Just like the Assault bike, the Ski Erg has blown up in recent years, thanks in part to Crossfit, the rise of independent gyms and a new wave of Cross Country Skiers that want to enhance their performance.
Made to mimic the technique of Cross Country Skiing, the Skir Erq requires you to stand in place and pull two handles down by your side, like you’re skiing.
Sounds easy right? Well, it’s not.
Your heart rate will shoot up quickly and with the correct technique, you will find yourself working muscles all over your body like you’ve never known.
When using the Ski-Erg it is common to go for a specified distance or complete smaller time-based intervals and a 150lb person using the Ski-Erg can expect to burn 272 calories in only 30 minutes of work, burning more than most traditional pieces of cardio equipment.
6. Elliptical Trainers
One of the most popular pieces of cardio equipment in the gym is the elliptical trainer, famed for being low impact, easy to use and for also providing a good full-body workout.
You use the elliptical by moving your feet on the footplates and moving your arms at the same time. As you’re often in a stronger, upright body position, and not hunched over, reducing any impact or stress felt on your back or neck, the elliptical can be a good machine to use whether you’re struggling with joint pain or not, as it also helps to burn a lot of calories whenever you use it.
A 150lb person using the elliptical for 30 minutes can expect to burn 300 calories but as with most machines, you can often increase that number by increasing how hard you work.
Completing low impact exercises doesn’t have to mean a low-calorie burn and it doesn’t have to mean you take it easy in the gym.
All of the machines included in this list will help you to burn a ton of calories and with the added bonus of easing the pressure on your joints and reducing the stress on your ankles, knees, and hips, it begs the question why you haven’t already switched over to a low impact cardio regime?
When you consider that jogging at a 12 minute mile pace, for 30 minutes, would bring about a 272 calorie burn for a 150lb person, which is less than some of the options in this list, it simply adds more weight to the argument that low impact cardio workouts may be the best option for you.
Now armed with the knowledge of the best gym machines for a low impact exercise routine, you have all you need to go out and start seeing results, so what are you waiting for? it’s time to workout.