March 2024

High-Impact Vs. Low-Impact Exercise: Which Is Right For You? | Jazzercise

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High-Impact Vs. Low-Impact Exercise: Which Is Right For You? | Jazzercise

At Jazzercise, we are ecstatic to offer both high-impact and low-impact class options to our amazing community. It’s our goal to always meet you where you’re at in your fitness journey. And, like most things in life, there’s a time and a place for each of these exercise classes. 

But which style of exercise is right for you right now? While both forms of exercise raise your heart rate, burn calories, and strengthen your body, there are several important factors to consider before deciding between the two. . 

Both high-impact and low-impact cardio workouts offer benefits and drawbacks. Keep in mind that high-impact exercise (such as running) tends to offer faster results but is generally harder on the body and more likely to result in injury. On the other hand, low-impact exercise (including walking) may take longer to show results but is much easier on your joints, bones, and muscles, which means you may be able to work out in this style more often. 

"Keep in mind that you don’t need to commit to doing all high-impact or all low-impact movements in one workout. You’ll see a mix of levels in all Jazzercise classes and your instructor will always give modifications. Listen to your body during each song and choose the option that’s right for you!", FitPro Emily Newlands mentions. Our FitPros encourage you to keep other factors in mind such as your current fitness level, whether you have any physical restrictions or injuries, and which types of movements you most enjoy. 

So where to begin? Well, it’s best to choose a program that is: 

  • • physically sustainable 
  • • does not aggravate any underlying issues 
  • • Is something enjoyable that you look forward to

As a starting point, the CDC recommends getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week, along with two sessions of strength training. From there, you can cater your weekly workouts based on your specific needs!

Below, we cover examples of high-impact and low-impact workouts and discuss their pros and cons. If you’re still unsure which type of program is right for you, feel free to reach out to one of our certified FitPros for a personalized recommendation. 

If you’re recovering from injury or illness, it might be a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Be safe and cautious so that your long-term success is most likely! 

Ok, let’s dive into exploring both low-impact and high-impact exercise options.

Benefits of Low-Impact Exercise

Whether you choose low-impact cardio exercises, low-impact HIIT workouts, or low-impact aerobics classes, you’ll quickly feel the total-body health perks!

Some of the many benefits of low-impact exercise include:

  • • Gentler impact on bones and joints
  • • Less risk of injury
  • • Faster recovery time between workouts
  • • Burns calories
  • • Increases heart rate
  • • Improves flexibility
  • • Boosts mental health

Low-impact exercises are great for every age and every stage to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even people who exercise regularly incorporate low-impact workouts into their routines. After all, low-impact workouts can be just as intense as high-impact workouts. If you ever try one of our low-impact formats… you'll see for yourself! 

Examples of Low-Impact Exercises

During low-impact exercise, one foot always remains on the ground. This helps prevent the more forceful landings experienced in high-impact workouts. Because your feet aren’t constantly pounding the ground, you’re less likely to experience joint pain, stress fractures, and other related injuries while performing low-impact movements.

Examples of low-impact workouts include:

  • • Walking
  • • Hiking
  • • Biking 
  • • Climbing stairs
  • • Dance aerobics
  • • Elliptical cardio
  • • Yoga
  • • Pilates
  • • Swimming (which is actually considered a no-impact exercise!)

If you’re struggling to get started with a new exercise program, low-impact cardio may be a good place to start. A surefire way to feel more fitness motivation is to sign up for a group fitness class with a friend or family member! There’s power in numbers, and having an accountability buddy helps with feeling motivated and encouraged.

One last pro tip: Scheduling exercise in advance, ideally when it’s first thing in the morning, can also be a powerful motivator. Plus, you’ll be more energized for the rest of your day!

Benefits of High-Impact Exercise

Although you may have your reasons to stick with low-impact cardio and strength training workouts, there are benefits to participating in high-impact activities, too. High-impact exercise is defined as activities involving both feet moving off of the ground at the same time. 

Examples of high-impact activities include: 

  • •Running
  • •Jumping
  • • Skipping rope
  • • Knee-highs
  • • Box jumps
  • • Burpees
  • • Jumping jacks

Many sports are also considered high-impact, including:

  • • Soccer
  • • Tennis
  • • Basketball
  • • Skiing 

Some of the many benefits of high-impact exercise include:

  • • Builds muscle faster
  • • Increases bone strength, density, and mass
  • • Strengthens joints
  • • Quickly elevates heart rate
  • • Higher calorie burn
  • • Boosts overall fitness levels

Risks of High-Impact Exercise

As previously mentioned, high-impact exercise may not be for everyone. Due to those forceful landings, high-impact activities are harder on your joints, muscles, feet, and body than low-impact exercises. This increases your risk of injuries, particularly those involving the joints and bones. If you regularly participate in high-impact workouts, listen to your body carefully and watch out for aches and pains – those can get worse if ignored.

Proper form is one of the most effective ways to prevent injury when performing high-impact exercises. The good news is that watching and working with a fitness trainer can lower your risk for injuries. So, the next time you hit a group fitness class, pay extra close attention to your FitPro instructor! And never be afraid to ask for feedback on your form. 

If you have been diagnosed with a condition affecting the bones or joints such as osteoporosis, then high-impact workouts may not be right for you. Talk to your doctor about your individual risks before trying any new workout.

Choosing the Right Exercise for You

At Jazzercise, we understand that with all the different types of exercise programs out there, it can be difficult to choose the right one. Beyond talking to your doctor and our certified FitPros, we encourage you to try different workouts to see what feels best for your body and needs! 

Whether you decide to go with high-impact or low-impact cardio, be sure to start out slowly and gradually increase intensity over time. If something doesn’t feel right, stop immediately and ask for guidance. While exercise should raise your heart rate and challenge your muscles, it should never cause pain or distress. 

Our unique studios offer high-impact and low-impact cardio dance and strength fitness classes. Whatever you choose, you’ll burn calories, get fit, make friends, and add FUN into your fitness routine!

And sometimes we offer the best of both worlds! In some class formats, we incorporate both high-impact and low-impact exercises, along with targeted strength training segments. 

We also offer low-impact variations of our popular Cardio Sculpt and Power Sculpt classes. Similar to our high-impact offerings, low-impact cardio, and low-impact HIIT classes provide a super-effective workout without any hopping, skipping, or jumping.

Many people benefit from a combination of high-impact and low-impact exercises, so don’t hesitate to mix things up! Whichever Jazzercise classes you ultimately decide to try, we can’t wait to see you on the dance floor! Ready to get started? Sign up today!

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