There’s no question that high intensity exercise burns mega-calories in minimum time. But when that high intensity comes in the form of running, jumping, and sprinting, you’re only as strong as your weakest link—and for many that means your hips and knees, which are more vulnerable to injury as impact levels rise. “Stress and impact are amplified with high intensity training routines and sudden force can cause damage to joint cushions, tendons, and muscles,” says Nicholas DiNubile, MD, orthopedic surgeon and best-selling author of the FrameWork series of books. “This is especially true as we age, or if you’ve had previous injuries, as your musculoskeletal frame is not as durable or limber.”
The good news is you can raise your heart rate and rev your metabolism to burn calories and fry fat without the jarring impact. Here are 10 relatively gentle workouts your joints (and your waistline) will love. Note: Just because a workout is low impact doesn’t mean it’s zero risk. You can further minimize your chances of pulling a muscle or straining a joint by starting your exercise sessions slowly so you can warm up your muscles and lubricate your joints before turning up your efforts.