Low vs. High-Impact Exercise
Health and Wellness

Low vs. High-Impact Exercise [INFOGRAPHIC]

If there is one thing that last year has taught us it is the need for exercise. Everyone is busy with their lives. Students have schools while their parents have full-time jobs. We don’t feel the need to go out and take some time out for our bodies. However, it is important that we do so. We keep neglecting our health and wait for a disease to strike us. Therefore, only eating healthy is not the key, your body must be able to burn some calories too. That’s where the question arises: Low impact vs. high-impact exercise, which is better?

Exercising plays a huge part in keeping your weight and health in check. In addition, it is a great mood and energy booster. We are all aware of that famous line “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.” In fact, exercising daily has proved to be helpful for better sleep and skin too! Therefore, why be a couch potato when you can work out a little every day? However tiring, the impact of physical activity is huge.

Exercises are of two types: low impact and high impact. Just like their names suggest, low-impact exercises cause less impact on your joints while high-impact exercises cause more. Usually, people who exercise for training and sports tend to do high-impact exercises. High-impact exercises help a lot in bone and muscle strength. However, these can get very intensive. One must be careful not to overdo them without much knowledge. Are you confused about which is better: Low impact vs. high-impact exercise? Read on to find out more.


Low vs. High-Impact Exercise: What’s The Difference? 

We have a basic understanding of low impact vs. high-impact exercise. Therefore, let’s look at the four major differences between these two. 


  • Calories burnt: High-impact exercises require more energy. For instance, simply walking is a normal activity. It does consume energy but not so much. On the other hand, if you start running, you require more energy to push forward. Therefore, the calories burnt while performing high-impact exercises are more. On the other hand, low-impact exercises like yoga and swimming help build your strength and balance.


  • Intensity: High-impact work-outs are really beneficial for cardiovascular conditioning. That is because of how quickly such exercises can raise your heart rate. You will be able to feel it even after skipping a rope. However, if you spend equal time doing yoga, the intensity felt by you would be way lesser in comparison. Therefore, high-impact exercises are more intensive than low-impact exercises.


  • Type: When both your feet are off the ground and working, it is said that you are doing a high-impact exercise. For instance, cross-training, and callisthenics are very dynamic in nature. They are highly powerful and have a great impact on muscles and bones. The pain after a high-impact exercise is immediately felt. On the other hand, low-impact exercises are gentle and fluid. Be it dancing or yoga, the fluidity in your body shows.


  • Perfect fit: When it comes to the battle between Low impact vs. High-impact exercises, people often recommend a good mix of both. However, low-impact exercises are ideal for beginners. They are less intensive and ease you into the habit of exercising. They are also ideal for pregnant ladies. On the other hand, high-impact exercises are mostly done by athletes or those who want to train.


Low vs. High-Impact Exercise: Pros and Cons 

We are all built differently. Our lifestyle and eating habits differ a lot. Therefore, any kind of exercise may have advantages and disadvantages.


The advantages of high-impact exercise are:


  • Bone density: Helps increase the minerals in bone and thereby its strength.
  • Muscle strength: Has a huge impact on muscle strength and gain.
  • Cardiovascular health: Helps keep your heart and lungs fit.
  • Burns calories: A 154 lb Person can burn nearly 295 calories in 30 minutes through running in comparison to 140 calories through walking.
  • Performance: It helps your muscles endure physical activity better along with improving reflexes. Therefore, sports players see a remarkable improvement in their fitness and game.


The disadvantages of high-impact exercise are:


  • Joint pain: This form of exercise can be very painful for people with arthritis.
  • Injury: People engaging in high-impact exercises are more prone to injuries.


People with past or current bone-related issues must not strain themselves doing these exercises. People who are obese may also find it difficult to cope with the intensity of such workouts.


The advantages of low-impact exercise are:


  • Low risk: The main advantage of such exercises is that they are not as risky as high-impact exercises.
  • Easily accessible: Most low-impact exercises don’t require a trainer or gym equipment. You can easily do them at your convenience.
  • Flexibility: Low-impact exercises help build flexibility and posture. Therefore, they help improve your core strength and mobility.
  • Mental health: Most of these exercises are calming. They improve your heart health and mood.


These exercises don’t really have a disadvantage in specific. They are just limiting in terms of benefits and impact. For instance, imagine a person running every day for the same time as a person walking. The person who’s running will definitely have more impact.


Low vs. High-Impact Exercise: Exercises to Try

Here are some low-impact and high-impact exercises you could try:

High-impact exercises

  • Squat Jumps: They help strengthen muscles. Stand with your feed and shoulders spaced a width apart. Squat and let your arms hang towards the flood. Now, jump! You can do this about 15-20 times.
  • Jumping Jacks: This is the best exercise to improve upper and lower body coordination. You have to ensure your arms move in the same sync as your feet. You can do this exercise about 15-20 times too.
  • Burpees: Burpees are excellent at improving strength and endurance. They are intense. Squat, jump, land, do a plank and finally do a pushup. All this constitutes a single burpee. You can do 10-15 burpees. 

Apart from these few exercises, there are several high-impact exercises you can try. From hiking to running, there are a lot of ways you can get your heart racing.


Low-impact exercises

  • Swimming: Swimming provides a lot of comfort to the body. However, the body’s resistance to water makes this exercise intense and impactful.
  • Dancing: Dancing is an amazing aerobic workout. There are different types of dancing one can learn and dance on. Therefore, this activity is fun and has plenty of benefits for the body.
  • Cycling: Cycling is one workout which can get intense if you want to. However, the amount of impact it has on your legs is immense. 
  • Yoga: The flexibility that yoga creates in your body is mind-blowing. Everyone knows about the benefits of yoga on the mind and body. Therefore, even 30 minutes a day can make you feel really good.


These are some of the many low-impact exercises one can try!



Is High Impact Or Low-Impact Better?

There is no better or worse. A doctor may recommend a heavy cardio workout or just 30 minutes of yoga. It is entirely upon how much your body can take. It is also upon your goal. For instance, some people exercise to take their minds off and feel calm. Therefore, such people will like low-impact exercises. On the other hand, some people want to lose weight and work on building muscles. Therefore, they would prefer high-impact exercise.

High-impact exercise definitively does have a greater impact as the name suggests. However, it is of no use if your body cannot take it. It will only lead to problems. Therefore, always make an informed decision. 


Is Low-Impact Or High Impact Better For Weight Loss?

Both forms of exercise are helpful in weight loss. Low-impact is a long road but an easier one. At the end of the day, it is not just about how many you burn. It is also about your calorie intake. Technically, high impact is better for burning fat. However, weight loss is best tackled with a good proportion of both types of exercises. 


Are Low-Impact Workouts Better?

It’s a matter of personal preference and requirement. There is no better or worse. There is no such thing as “this exercise is better.” However, there is a thing like “this exercise is better for me.” Therefore, find what you can do consistently and keep doing it. However, it is better to do a combination of both.


What Is Considered High Impact Exercise?

Running, jumping the rope and many other exercises are your high-impact exercises. An exercise is high-impact when it is highly intensive on the body. You feel your heart racing the moment you start doing it.


Can You Lose Weight With Low Impact?

Yes! Definitely. You can lose weight with low-impact exercises too. All you need to be is consistent with it. Therefore, you cannot expect miracles within a few weeks. Low-impact exercises take time to show results but they do! 


Low vs. High-Impact Exercise: Which is Better?

All in all, in this debate on low vs. high-impact exercise, there is no clear winner. Your primary concern must only be exercising. Therefore, take time out of your day and do any form of exercise which makes you feel better. If you like dancing, dance every day! Don’t let time and work interrupt your journey towards a better lifestyle.

Do you exercise daily? Which exercises do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.


This infographic visually explores the difference between Low vs. high-impact exercise.

Low vs. High-Impact Exercise Infographic


Low vs. High-Impact Exercise Pin

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