3 Low-Impact Exercises for a High-Intensity Workout

High impact workouts such as running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and boxing are a great way to quickly boost your heart rate and build strength and endurance. They also can put pressure on the body due to repetitive movement like jumping and pounding, and surely aren’t the only way to get a sweat-inducing workout in.

Low-impact exercise, while having a reputation for being “easier” or more gentle, can actually offer the same benefits, especially for those who need to avoid high-impact workouts. Some reasons individuals may want to take a break from traditional high-impact exercise include injuries in the joints, bones or connective tissue and chronic issues such as arthritis, osteoporosis or stress fractures.

Jump roping

While jump rope may look low key, the activity turns out to be one of the best cardiovascular workouts out there. Plus, it’s easy to incorporate into a daily or weekly fitness routine given it requires no additional equipment other than the rope itself and can be performed anywhere. According to the American Council on Exercise, jump rope reduces the chance of knee and lower-leg injuries, as cited by mindbodygreen. For those interested in burning more calories per minute, jump rope is a top exercise. A 160-pound person burns roughly 730 calories in 60 minutes of jump roping, per Livestrong.

Rock climbing

Looking for an exercise that will challenge and humble any beginner? Try out climbing. For those who don’t live close to an outdoor bouldering spot, or who would like to start out in a controlled environment and rent the right gear, there are a growing number of bouldering gyms across the country. Since rock climbing is significantly different than other types of exercise, it helps sharpen the mind, and can serve as a meditation. The nature of the movement builds precision, strength and balance. Climbing is also a very social sport, as there are often long periods of rest in between each climb, making it an ideal exercise for those seeking to meet new friends and build their community.


Rowing, either indoors on a rowing machine or outside on the water, is a highly efficient workout that involves the entire body. Given your feet never leave the ground, the low impact exercise is great for those with problematic joints in the low body. For individuals who crave the competitive aspects of high-impact exercise, rowing is a non-contact sport, which means that you can still get the thrill of competition without the risk of getting hurt. It’s important to learn good technique, either by taking a rowing class or asking a trainer at the gym for a quick instruction.