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4 Low-Impact Cardio Workouts That Still Burn Some Serious Cals

Not every workout has to be high-intensity. Here’s how to dial it back, while still getting a great sweat in.

By: Emmy Green

From boot camps to plyometric workouts, high-impact cardio is getting its shining moment, and for good reason. Short bursts of intense exercise have been proven to be most effective at burning fat in a short amount of time. However, even if you’re a squat jump junkie, your joints need a little rest every now and then. Hello, low-impact cardio! 

Don’t let the name fool you—there are sky-high benefits to doing low-impact cardio. It puts less strain on your joints, can be done more frequently, and is the perfect starting point for any fitness newbie trying to burn fat and tone muscles. 

But not all low-impact cardio is created equal. To get the biggest bang for your buck, include a number of modalities and intensities. 

We love cycling, swimming, and rowing. No equipment handy? No problem. Complete the following four exercises back-to-back. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat it another two to three times for a quick low-impact sculpting session.   

4 Low-Impact Cardio Workouts That Break a Sweat 

#1 Forearm Plank

  • Place forearms on the floor with your elbows directly below your shoulders.
  • Press up through your shoulder blades, pull your belly button into your spine, activate your glutes, and keep your hips lifted. 
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Don’t forget to breathe!

#2 Curtsey Lunge

  • Start standing on your right leg, left leg pointed out to the side.
  • Pull your belly button into your spine and your step your left leg back, so your thighs cross 
  • Bend both knees to 90 degrees, knees tracking over toes and lift your arms overhead.
  • Squeeze your glutes and inner thighs as you come back to your starting position. 
  • Repeat 15 times on each side.

#3 Sprinters

  • Start with feet hip-distance, parallel.
  • Bend your knees slightly and step your left leg back behind you as you bring your bent left arm forward and right arm back (like you’re sprinting). 
  • Step your left foot back to center and repeat the exercise this time with your right arm forward. 
  • Repeat for 30 seconds on each side. 

#4 Sumo Squat Uppercuts 

  • Start with feet wider than hip-distance, toes pointed outwards at a 45-degree angle. 
  • Keeping your abs engaged and shoulders over your hips, bend both knees to 90 degrees. 
  • Hold this position as you alternate uppercut punches for 60 seconds. Feel the burn!

See How Low-impact Cardio Can Benefit Your Fitness Routine 

Just because these four moves are lower impact than maybe your typical high-intensity workouts, certainly doesn’t make them any less effective. So, if you’re looking for some moves to incorporate into your low-impact cardio days, give these a try. 

They may be exactly what your body needs to help tone and strengthen, while also taking some pressure off those tired joints.