A healthy lifestyle requires regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and adequate sleep. Exercise is key for optimal health and with so many different people with different bodies and different needs, it’s important to find the right work out that fits your interests, schedule, and budget.
Even with a tight-knit fitness schedule in place, we all experience those days when we just don’t feel like working out or training. There are some days where you should avoid working out all together, like when it’s due to soreness or overtraining and now a much-needed rest day is due.
On the contrary, if you do not workout regularly and lack motivation to begin, it could be due to fatigue, stress, pain, being overweight and more.
If you’re someone who needs to start exercising but don’t know where to begin, my recommendation is start small. If you’re not used to weight training then you wouldn’t start with lifting 50-lb dumbbells; equally, if you’re not used to jogging then you wouldn’t set yourself up to run a marathon.
Either way, whether you need an active rest day due to soreness or whether you need motivation to get you started, the best way to get moving would be with these low-impact exercises.
The low-impact exercises mentioned here are just the thing to get your body moving, whether it’s for the very first time or for the training enthusiasts who need an active rest day.
1. Mobility Training: Mobility is the ability to move with ease. Mobility exercises prevent injury and increase range of motion. Mobility training is a great way to warm-up before and cool-down after each workout or it can be the entire work out for the day. Some form of mobility training should be done everyday. For a great mobility routine, try this 15-minute video from @SaturnoMovement. This channel has lots of great videos on how to get your joints in just the right place. If practiced daily, you will see how great mobility training feels.
P.S- I love the twisting lunges towards the end!
2. Yin Yoga: If you’re new to yoga or if you’re experiencing lots of soreness, then yin yoga is just the thing for you! Yin Yoga is a more passive, gentle, slow-paced, supported type of yoga where the poses are held for longer periods of time. The aim is to feel a longer connection to the sensations in the body with each pose. In doing so, improvements in the quality of breath and deep connective tissue stretches are felt, which increases energy and decreases pain throughout the body.
3. Walking: Get outdoors and get those legs moving! Walking is a great way to boost circulation and mood. Check out the chart below to see how the benefits get better and better the longer you walk.
4. Cycling: A low intensity workout that’s easy on the ankles and knees. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes to increase your heart rate at a steady pace. This also extends the health benefits for a longer period after the exercise is complete.
5. Elliptical cardio: If you’re a gym member or have an elliptical machine at home, this type of workout can be light yet still incorporates cardio, strength, and flexibility in one.
6. Swimming: Water exercises are a great way to support your body and reduce stress on the joints, especially if you’re overweight or very sore.
7. Dancing: Work up a sweat without having to think about calories burned or time between sets. Simply have fun and stop when you’re beat (pun intended).
Anything that creates gentle and fluid motions, that's easy on the joints, increases the heart rate at a steady pace and leaves you feeling energized at the end of it, is considered to be low-impact exercises.
Who doesn’t want that?
Become aware of how you feel and remind yourself that you don’t have push hard everyday, especially when the energy is not there to support intense activities. Knowing how and when to practice low-impact exercises prevents injury, decreases muscle soreness, and increases gains! Yes, on your rest days.
Active rest days help get the body up and moving without the stress of pressure or strain. It’s important to listen to the signals coming from your body.
May your body guide you to focus upon which actions to take, in respect to what it is available for.