Slow down and breathe: Low impact cardio exercises help relieve chronic pain in your knees and lower back
04/08/2021 // Virgilio Marin // Views

If you're suffering from joint and back pain, it's a good idea to slow down. Intense and heavy exercises can put stress on your body even more and make you feel more spent than refreshed after every workout. Try low-impact cardio exercises for a change. These are slow-burn exercises that go easy on your body and require one foot on the ground. Some examples include swimming, indoor rowing, cycling, hiking, yoga and Pilates.

If you wish to continue moving your joints but fear stressing your knees and back, low impact cardio is perfect for you. Here's why: (h/t to

Low impact cardio helps prevent injury

Intense workouts make you more prone to injury. While that doesn't mean you should brush off intense workouts completely, the fact is that low impact cardio puts less stress on your joints and muscles while still allowing you to get a good workout in. Plus, it tends to cause less inflammation in your body because it doesn't do as much damage to your body as intense workouts. People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis will particularly benefit from low-impact cardio.

Low impact cardio can improve your flexibility

Stretching often gets relegated to the warm-up part of a workout routine, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work out your body. Yes, it is more low impact than other low impact cardio exercises like hiking. But over time, mobility exercises like stretching will greatly improve your flexibility and help you move more efficiently in other workout modalities. This can also lower your risk of injury and perhaps even relieve chronic pain. (Related: 9 Exercises for upper back pain relief.)


Low impact cardio can boost your metabolism

Just because an exercise is low impact doesn't mean it cannot boost your metabolism. Quite the opposite – low impact cardio still gets your heart rate up, push your muscles to work hard and make you sweat and burn calories. And by boosting your metabolism, low impact cardio can help you shed some pounds and reduce the stress on your knees and back caused by excess weight. Experts also say that obesity and being overweight can worsen chronic pain because your body has too many fat cells that promote inflammation.

Low impact cardio exercises to soothe chronic pain

Check out the following low impact cardio exercises to relieve chronic pain:

  • Spinning/bike riding – Cycling is a great activity to get you moving and keep your joints protected. It removes pressure from your knees, hips and back by shifting your weight on your seat instead of your knees. Well-fitted shoes also take the pressure off your joints and center it on the ball of your foot.
  • Swimming/water aerobics – Swimming is often regarded as the perfect aerobic exercise, and for good reason. When you work out in the water, your body has to push against the resistance caused by the water, which builds muscle in the process. The water also takes the pressure off of your knees and hips by making you buoyant.
  • Walking – One of the best and simplest forms of exercise is walking. It costs nothing but a good pair of shoes and you can do it anywhere and in any climate. It's also less taxing to your body's pain points compared to hiking and running. When beginning a walking program, start slowly and walk only for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, three to five times a week. Over time, you will build up endurance and be able to walk longer and more frequently.

Low impact cardio exercises are perfect for anyone looking to get their muscles moving without stressing their injured knees and backs even more. Add these exercises to your workout routine to get in shape and alleviate chronic joint and back pain.

Learn more about exercises that help relieve chronic pain at

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