It’s all too common for those new to physical fitness to jump straight to barbells or machines and load up weights their bodies may not be ready to handle. Like anything, there are levels that you must go through to progress and steps you must take to reach your goals. In the case of physical fitness, it is essential to run before you can walk.
We should start with low-impact exercises to reduce the instance of injury and provide the body with the opportunity to adapt to the increased load. Beginning with low-impact exercise is especially important for our joints; since tendons and ligaments take much longer to strengthen due to the decreased blood flow—this lack of blood flow is why joints are more prone to injury.
It is recommended with any new movement pattern until you are comfortable, have impeccable technique, and are pain-free. This ensures that you develop strength the right way, which is it’s recommended to start slow. The following exercise options will give you the proper foundation in your fitness journey.
It may seem simple but don’t discount the multiple benefits of walking. We’re not talking about walking to the TV or the grocery store. We mean going outside to push yourself to a distance or pace outside your comfort zone. This will ensure that you’re getting that physical adaptation without pushing yourself too hard.
Seeing as this isn’t the most demanding form of fitness, it is something you can keep in your schedule if you enjoy getting out in nature and away from the stress of daily life. Walking each day helps relieve stress, gets you in a more meditative state, can burn calories and aid digestion.
Joining a gym and swimming is one of the most joint-friendly exercises you can do; your body isn’t fighting against gravity in the water; you are completely buoyant. The other advantages of swimming are cardiovascular and strength gains and rigorous calorie burning. We burn more calories in the water because the body is constantly heating itself to maintain homeostasis in the water. It is undoubtedly one of the more difficult skills to master. It is, however, one of the safest forms of exercise in terms of joint health.
If you’re pretty confident your fitness is at a reasonable level, you can start with body-weight exercises. Doing body-weight work is the absolute minimum you should be able to do before progressing to anything weighted. Body-weight movements will develop some cardiovascular capacity and introduce your body to specific movements that’ll also be required when lifting weights.
The bodyweight exercises we recommend starting with are; pushups, situps, squats, star jumps and lunges. These all hit the major muscle groups and serve as an excellent foundation. If you keep this up for several weeks to months, you will see definite improvements.
If you’re not comfortable starting your routine at home, you can find group fitness training classes that are helpful for learning the correct form.
Although unlikely, riding has the potential to cause injury if you’re overdoing it; it is still much more joint safe than some other exercises. The good thing about riding is that it’s a fantastic way to travel your neighbourhood or take scenic routes as long as you don’t take an indoor spin class.
Outdoor cycling is an excellent option because you tend to focus less on yourself and your surroundings when riding. This lack of self-awareness makes it easy to forget that you’re exercising and can make it into an enjoyable experience.
We would recommend getting a suitable bike and adjusting it correctly; if you don’t do so, you might encounter injuries.
Yoga has been around for centuries and has risen to popularity during modern times. This practice is used to rehabilitate joints or those suffering from common issues such as back pain. There is no reason why Yoga shouldn't be one of the first exercises you do. This practice is an excellent primer for your body and will create great integrity in your core and joints—the perfect foundation for someone starting their fitness journey.
If this interests you, we recommend finding a suitable Yoga class closest to you so your teacher can guide you the right way through this ancient practice. Attending group classes will ensure that you don’t develop any bad habits or techniques that may injure you later.
Don’t assume that they are easy or ineffective because these are low-impact exercises. These can be very beneficial and difficult workouts if you keep them in higher rep ranges and push yourself. If you want to improve your balance and mobility, implement these daily for a few months, find a trainer or get comfortable with a few exercises that you can execute well and keep pushing yourself. It won’t take long before you notice improvements and you’ll also have a stable base.