Joint pain is an issue for millions of people, with 10 million Americans experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and 1 percent of the world suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. That’s not all — low back pain was found to affect 1 in 10 people around the world.
If you’re one of the many people living with joint pain, the reality is that your body needs low-impact exercises. Luckily, many of these movements, like rowing and TRX squats, also deliver big results, allowing you build strength, reduce pain and learn new skills in the process. Here are a few low-impact exercises to try during your next workout.
The plank is a great exercise for building core and shoulder strength, and with so many variations, you can use it to target other areas of your body like your glutes and obliques. However, the plank movement can be challenging for people with wrist pain, which makes holding the weight of your body extremely painful.
Alleviate weight in your wrists by staying on your forearms, rather than being in a full pushup position. From here, you can still perform a variety of variations including plank jacks and hip dips.
If your wrists can stand some weight, try blocks or dumbbells to help take some pressure off of your wrists.
Rowing is a great way to improve your cardiovascular endurance while building full-body strength and reducing pain in your ankles and knees.
“The movement can be linked to the same joint mechanics as a squat and deadlift in that the ankles, knees, and hips go through flexion at their respective joints,” says James Shapiro, owner of Primal Power. He continues, “In addition to working the legs, the core becomes engaged and the final part of the concentric motion includes using back musculature.”
Most gyms, even smaller ones, will have at least one rowing machine available, so getting access to one should be relatively easy. Use this video to learn proper rowing technique before your first rowing session.
TRX LUNGES AND SQUATS
TRX is an amazing tool for every athlete, especially those who need low-impact exercises. While it takes some of the strain off your knees, it brings a new challenge to your arm, chest and back muscles, allowing you to reduce any potential pain while improving upper body strength. A few exercises to try, include:
- Forward, backward and alternating lunges
- Squat, 1-leg squat
- Split squat
Most gyms have TRX bands hanging in the functional fitness area. If not, consider purchasing a set yourself. With an anchor, you can use them anywhere, including your house and backyard.
Rock climbing is not only a more social exercise experience, but it challenges your body in new way — that’s probably why it was voted the #2 most popular indoor hobby in 2016. The best part is that it’s ideal for people who need low-impact options.
Rock climbing builds strength in your entire body, right down to your fingers and toes. However, it’s easy on your joints, with minimal jumping or jerky movements. The goal is to glide from one point to the next, slowly scaling the wall while staying in control of your body and movements.
Look online to find a local rock climbing gym and ask for an introductory session. They’ll teach you how to use proper form and technique, which is critical for safe training.
Step aerobics are a great way to bring low-impact cardio into your workout without turning to the bike, elliptical or treadmill. Because you don’t want to trip, these movements tend to be slower and more controlled, which is why they’re easier on your knees.
The best part is that steps can be used to enhance a variety of different exercises and is compact enough to slide right under your couch if you like to work out at home. Here are a few step workout videos to help you learn some good exercises:
- Fat Burning Cardio Step Workout for Butt and Thighs
- Beginner Step Aerobics Fitness Cardio
- Power Step Aerobics
Low-impact exercises don’t have to be boring or ineffective. Quite the contrary, many of them give you a chance to learn new skills while building strength and challenging your muscles in new ways. Use these ideas to take pressure off your joints and continue progressing toward your goals.