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7 Low-Impact Cardio Workouts For Weight Loss (+Benefits!)

Written by Shelby Torrese

Reviewed by Liz Brown

Give your joints a break and still reach your weight loss goals with these low-impact cardio workouts! Plus, learn about how low-impact workouts can improve longevity!

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If you think low impact cardio is less effective than high-intensity cardio, allow me to blow your mind. Seriously, I know HIIT classes get a lot of love, but low impact exercises are where it’s at! Plus, any workout where I can keep one foot on the ground at any given time….well, count me in. 😂

When I think about my friends who have great figures, they actually all do regular low impact cardio such as pilates, walking, yoga, and swimming, to name a few. (Notice how they all involve low impact leg exercises!) Low impact exercises like these are great for your physique and overall health! But I’ll get to that in a minute.

I know adding the name low impact in front of anything makes it seem slower, or even boring, but again, that’s simply not the case. My goal for this blog is to get you excited about low impact cardio and encourage you to incorporate low impact exercises into your weekly fitness routines! 

walking plan for weight loss

Benefits Of Low-Impact Cardio

Regular exercise of any kind is beneficial to men and women of all ages. Low impact cardio and other low impact exercises are especially effective for anyone who struggles with joint pain or any underlying injuries that high intensity exercise may irritate. Simply, just because you’re injured doesn’t mean you’re exempt from exercise! Even chair yoga is a thing. 😉

  • Reduced stress—Exercising causes stress on the body. In moderation, and when properly recovering, this type of stress is a good thing! However, if our exercising, or stressing, exceeds our recovery, then we begin to age much faster and experience higher risk of injury. Low impact exercises cause less stress on the body, while also delivering all of the amazing benefits of working out. It’s no coincidence that the healthy men and women who live to see their 90’s and even hit the 100+ mark do regular low impact cardio, such as walking. [1]
  • Lower blood pressure—Some people avoid exercise because they have high blood pressure or live with hypertension. They fear high intensity activities, and along the way, their health suffers because of it. Moderate exercise has shown to positively affect blood pressure! [2] Low impact leg exercises, low impact cardio, and other low impact activities have shown to significantly benefit people with high blood pressure. A simple rule of thumb is to see how well you can carry a conversation while exercising. If you can talk for days without tiring, you may be taking it too easy, but if you can exchange a maximum of a few sentences without losing form or focus, you’re right on the money! [3
  • Fat burn—While high intensity exercises will burn more calories, low intensity exercises actually burn more fat. This is because high intensity activities utilize glucose for energy (carbohydrates) and longer duration, low intensity activities target fat sources for energy! 

How To Do Low-Impact Exercises (& Still Burn Calories) 

Low impact exercises are simply exercises without jumping, putting too much weight on joints, or heavy lifting. While you still get a great workout with low impact exercises, you can maximize calorie burn with the right supplements. My personal go-to is Skinny Greens green juice powder. It contains all the right energy-boosting ingredients (matcha & ginseng), contains adaptogens for reducing additional stress on the body (turmeric & ashwagandha), and even a unique waist-slimming blend (apple cider vinegar, green tea, and glucomannan). You can expect 36 different superfoods in every scoop of Skinny Greens to help kickstart you into gear and also support your fitness goals!

Best Low Impact Exercises  

1. Swimming

Swimming may be the best low impact exercise of all time. It doesn’t require any weight on the joints, and it supports flexibility, cardio, and strength training all in one! No equipment necessary!

2. Walking

Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! Grab a friend or pick your favorite podcast or music album and get to walkin’. Walking is a great low impact workout because it strengthens cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, balance, endurance, and helps reduce overall body fat. 

3. Yoga & pilates

Yoga and pilates are great low impact exercise options because they incorporate extensive low impact leg exercises. Low impact leg exercises are so great because our legs can (and should!) be worked every single day. Yoga and pilates focus on low impact leg exercises because they’re crazy effective, and they help strengthen and lengthen our leg muscles!

4. Beginner’s kickboxing

This may seem crazy, but beginner’s kickboxing is a great way to incorporate low impact cardio into your life! You’re almost always shuffling side to side with both feet on the ground (low impact leg exercises) and utilize the upper body as the cardio side of the workout. It’s sure to make you sweat without putting pressure on the joints! 

5. Hiking

Hiking is my personal favorite low impact workout of choice. You not only get to be outside, breathing fresh air, but you also get to work at your own pace. There are tons of trails that offer light to moderate inclines, and even a long walk on the beach can be considered a hike!

6. Cycling

If you love to cycle but don’t want the pressure of speed racing, a leisurely bicycle ride will do the trick! You burn calories, get a workout in, and don’t have the pressure of a high intensity ride. 

7. Dancing

Low impact dance cardio is a great way to get moving without the pain! Find a style that suits you and get a move on. There are tons of online dance classes, and most local gyms offer a few different styles and levels. If you’re a music lover, this is definitely the low impact workout for you!

Woman swimming

The Bottom Line 

There you have it! If you’re not on the low impact cardio bandwagon yet, I hope today’s post has swayed you. (Even if just a little bit!) Whether you do it for the fat burn, the pain-free joint benefits, or simply to round out your fitness routine, low impact cardio is a great way to boost weight loss and help keep your joints healthy.

Mentioned In This Post

Skinny Greens Green Superfood Powder

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About The Author

Shelby Torrese

Nutrition, Movement & Meditation Coach

Shelby Torrese is a wellness enthusiast (and matcha fanatic!) from Miami, FL. She attributes her love of movement to her mom, a personal trainer, and her love of food to her dad, a farmer. She studied creative writing in college while getting her yoga certification, and went on to pursue fitness and nutrition in grad school. Her go-to advice is, “Balance,” and she is a firm believer that the ocean can cure just about everything.

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
  • NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
  • M.S. in Human Performance


Reviewed By

Liz Brown

Fitness & Nutrition Expert (CPT., FNS.)

Liz is a health & wellness expert, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in the fitness & nutrition industry. She emphasizes research and simplifies complex topics to help make healthy living simple and sustainable. When she isn't researching and writing, she's sharing delicious recipes, easy DIYs, and home decor tips on her blog and social media.

More from Liz, visit: Personal Blog, TikTok, Instagram


  • NASM Certified Personal Trainer(since 2012)
  • NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (since 2014)
  • Credentialed Coach Practitioner, Coach Training Academy
  • B.A. Liberal Studies (Health & Nutrition Sciences)
  • A.A. Liberal Arts (STEM)

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