Kickstart Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution With Low-Impact Exercises
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By JV Valderama
Low-impact or no-jump exercises are short effective workouts you can do regularly, especially this New Year’s Day when exhausting your body in the gym is the last thing you want to do. Build your stamina while still enjoying the festivities by doing low-impact exercises you can finish in under 10 minutes.
Low-impact Exercises You Can Try
The phrase “low-impact” may raise a few eyebrows as it might imply minimal or insignificant results. However, do not belittle this type of workout. Exercise with low impact can still raise your heart rate and blood flow, which is beneficial for weight loss. It improves your strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness.
Try these low-impact exercises below to stay fit over the holidays:
High Plank(Image by mindbodygreen.com)
1. Start on all fours with your knees and toes engaged to the floor.
2. Keep your hands slightly wider than your shoulders while gripping the floor.
3. Assume a push-up position by extending your legs outwards to raise your knees from the ground. Maintain your legs at a hip-width distance.
4. Engage your core, quads, and glutes, and hold the position for 10-15 seconds.
Tips• Observe your body closely when doing this exercise and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.
• Hold the high position for 30 seconds and increase as you progress. Repeat for 2-4 sets.
• Keep your body straight from head to heels and try not to allow your hips to droop.
Benefits• High plank exercise strengthens the core giving you great lower-back support.
• It also prepares your body for intense workouts such as weightlifting to avoid any injuries.
• Aside from working the core muscles and giving you defined abs, this exercise offers improved arm strength.
• Personal Trainer at ICE NYC Stephany Bolivar said that high plank develops upper-body stability by strengthening the muscles in the forearms, biceps, and shoulders muscles.
1. Lie facedown on the ground, tuck your elbows underneath your shoulders, and your forearms flat on the ground.
2. Push your forearms against the floor, and raise yourself using your toes while squeezing your abs. Clasp both your hands ahead of you.
3. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
Tips• Maintain your body in a straight line. Avoid pointing your butt to the ceiling and do not allow your hips to droop toward the ground.
• Aim for 45-60 seconds or longer once you build adequate core and upper-body strength.
• Practise proper breathwork while doing this workout. Avoid dizziness by breathing in and breathing out, allowing oxygen to enter your system.
• Refrain from fixing on completing the workout by focusing too much on the stopwatch. If your shoulders and upper body start to sag, it's time to pause, gather strength, and repeat.
Benefits• Elbow plank is easier on the wrists than high plank as it puts little to no strain on your wrists.
• It engages all the muscles in your core, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques, providing balance in your body.
• It stabilises the upper and lower body such as your back, shoulders, legs, and hips, allowing you to perform daily activities more easily and efficiently.
• It reduces back pain by correcting spinal alignment, giving you endurance for tougher activities.
Arm and Leg Raises
(Image by core3pt.com)
1. Start on all fours with your hands and knees glued to the ground. Ensure that your spine is in a neutral position and that your shoulder blades are rolled down.
2. Brace your core and simultaneously lift your right arm and left leg.
3. Slowly descend your right arm and left leg to return to the starting position.
4. Repeat with the other side.
Tips• For beginners, hold the high position for about 6 seconds and gradually increase to 10-20 seconds as you progress.
• Perform 8-12 repetitions on each side.
• Keep your head up and forward to strengthen your neck and upper shoulder muscles.
Benefits• Arm and leg raise exercise primarily targets your core, hips, glutes, and hamstrings to help you build improved balance and stability in the body.
• Moreover, it develops muscle mass in the shoulders, lower back, and calves.
• This requires mental focus and promotes coordinated movements for improved balance and coordination.
1. Stand and keep your arms by your sides. Maintain your feet at a shoulder-width distance.
2. Bend your knee into a squat position and stick your hands on the ground.
3. Step your legs back assuming a plank position.
4. Step your legs forward returning to a squat position.
5. Return to your starting position.
Tips• This exercise fully relies on your body weight and does not require any gym equipment.
• Keep your hands engaged by pushing your palms against the floor.
• Maintain a straight back throughout the routine. Try not to arch your spine to avoid injuries.
• Once you get comfortable, increase the speed of each movement while still keeping the correct form.
Benefits• Compared to traditional burpees, walking burpees are softer on your joints as it excludes jumping and push-ups while still building strength and endurance.
• According to Personal Trainer Sarah Bright, burpees do not only burn calories during the exercise but even hours after the workout, making them effective for weight loss.
• Performing this exercise grants you the same benefits cardio and strength training provide like body fat loss and improved muscle strength.
(Image by popsugar.com)
1. For your starting position, assume a squat position and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Make a fist with your hands at chin level, and keep your core engaged.
3. As you stand, twist your upper body to the right and punch with your left arm straight out to the right.
4. Return to your starting position and repeat with the other side.
Tips• When standing up from the squat position, shift your weight to the opposite leg to gain tension in your core and legs.
• Perform it for 30 seconds, then rest for 30-60 seconds. Finish 2-5 sets.
• Don't let your knees go beyond your toes, keep your hips back, and lift your chest.
Benefits• Although squat punch is a low-impact exercise, this works the muscles in your entire body.
• This is a great warm-up routine before doing high-impact HIIT exercises to prevent muscle strain and spasms.
• If you want a perfect body physique and toned arms and abs, this exercise is for you.
1. Lie on your back, bend your knees, keep your feet and back flat, and put your hands behind your head.
2. Slowly lift your upper-body while engaging your abdominal muscles. Hold the position for 1-3 seconds.
3. Return to the starting position slowly.
Tips• Begin with 2 sets of 8-15 repetitions and gradually increase the number of sets and repetitions to challenge yourself.
• Maintain your head in a neutral position by directing your eyes to the ceiling to avoid neck strain.
• Try to avoid crunching too high. Raise your shoulders just a few inches from the ground.
• Keep the tension on your abs and shoulder muscles by doing a slow movement.
Benefits• Performing crunches helps increase muscle strength in your abdomen, especially your rectus abdominus, providing you with six-pack abs.
• This provides body stability by giving you a strong back and abdominal muscles.
• Doing this exercise allows you to lose body fat while improving your posture.
(Image by warriormade.com)
1. Start on all fours by getting down on your hands and knees with your legs hip-width apart.
2. Raise your right thigh toward your chest and put your toes on the floor. Extend your left leg behind you, and extend your toes on the floor.
3. Without moving your arms, quickly switch your legs.
4. Repeat alternately.
Tips• Activate your abs and glutes by squeezing them the entire time.
• Execute the movement slowly and increase the space as you get comfortable.
• You may point your fingers to the side if you feel pain in your wrists.
• NASM-Certified Personal Trainer Kellie Williams highlighted that you should maintain a neutral spine by controlling and stabilising your movement to avoid any injuries.
Benefits• Mountain climber exercise forces your heart and lung to pump new, oxygenated blood to your muscles, making it a great HIIT workout.
• Moreover, this helps maintain healthy blood lipids and blood glucose levels to prevent diseases such as heart disease.
• The shoulders, core, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps are some of the largest muscular groups that are worked during this exercise.
• This is beneficial if you want to lose weight and gain muscle mass,
Single Split Leg Lunges
(Image by healthline.com)
1. Lift your leg and place the top of your foot on the ground behind you.
2. Squat down by flexing the front leg's knee and hip until the rear leg's knee is parallel to the floor.
3. Return to the standing position by extending the hip and knee of your engaged leg.
4. Repeat and continue with the opposite leg.
Tips• While doing the exercise, keep your core engaged, your shoulders rolled down, and your chest upright.
• For beginners, you may perform 8 repetitions on each leg. Execute the weighted version by adding resistance with a barbell or a dumbbell.
• If you are having a hard time finding your balance, you can place your hand on an object for support.
Benefits• Split lunges are great exercise for your lower-body muscles such as hamstrings, calves, quads, and glutes.
• It also corrects muscle imbalances, which is beneficial for daily physical activities like lifting, bending down, or picking up stuff.
• This exercise improves balance and coordination by strengthening your core and lower back.
Performing 10-minute low-impact exercises are perfect when you are trying to make the most out of your holiday vacation. If you’re short on time and energy running holiday errands and attending New Year’s parties, low-impact exercises offer the same benefits traditional HIIT exercises provide. Furthermore, this form of exercise is much softer on your joints reducing injuries like strain.
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