Live: Samsung Unpacked Live Updates Apple's iOS 16.3 Release 9 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month Best Indoor Plants HomePod 2nd-Gen Review 12 Best Cardio Workouts Watch the Galaxy S23 Reveal Salami, Sausage Recalled
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you
Accept
Why You Can Trust CNET
Our fitness advice is expert-vetted. Our top picks are based on our editors’ independent research, analysis, and hands-on testing. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Exclusive

6 Low-Impact Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

You don't need a gym membership or equipment to get in a good workout.

a woman speed walking in the city
A brisk walk is a great low-impact exercise.
David Madison/Getty Images

Exercise isn't just about running as fast or lifting as much as humanly possible. Low-impact exercises are an effective way to slowly raise your heart rate and burn fat without putting significant pressure on your joints, as high-intensity workouts do. 

Whether you're easing your way into working out, have chronic pain, are in recovery or just prefer a lower-intensity workout, the exercises below have a lesser impact on your body while still helping you work up a sweat. Another perk about low-impact training is that you can almost do it anywhere -- no gym membership needed. 

Get a healthy start to your 2023 with these low-impact workouts you can try from the comfort of your home or anywhere else you're feeling motivated to fit in a workout.

6 low-impact workouts you don't need equipment for 

Yoga

Yoga involves deep breathing and movement that stretches, aligns and strengthens the body. It'll help improve your flexibility and do wonders for your mental health. It can reduce stress and anxiety, and ease depression symptoms. More intense yoga workouts can also promote weight loss and burn calories, like hot or power yoga.

Pilates

A woman in a pink workout outfit doing pilates on a mat
Prostock-Studio/Getty Images

Pilates is a low-impact strengthening exercise that focuses heavily on the core and combines intentional movement with breath work. It's similar to yoga, with the ability to promote proper alignment and mindfulness. Research shows that pilates can help ease back pain, improve posture and promote better mental health. 

Brisk walking

Walking has a host of benefits, and it's a convenient, low-impact exercise almost anyone can fit into their schedule. You can also make it increasingly more challenging as you gain more endurance and skill. For example, walk up a hill for greater resistance, or increase the pace of your walk to boost your heart rate.

The Mayo Clinic recommends you be purposeful with your movements on your walk and move at a brisk pace. When doing so, it can:

  • Reduce body fat
  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Strengthen muscles
  • Increase mood and energy levels
  • Improve balance

Kettlebell training

This low-impact exercise requires a kettlebell, but it's a staple for any at-home gym. It allows for more versatile movements than other free weights like dumbbells because of its handle. Kettlebell training is a good low-impact cardio exercise that strengthens the whole body while improving coordination and mobility. 

Crunches

A classic strengthening exercise that primarily targets the body's core muscles. Abdominal crunches help tone your core, burn calories, improve posture and can prevent lower back pain.

Dancing

Depending on your dance, it can be an effective low-impact cardiovascular workout that reduces stress, increases endorphins, improves heart health and boosts stamina. Low-impact dance routines can have influences from yoga, kickboxing, weightlifting and other movements. 

Low-impact vs. high-impact workouts

To clarify, the term low impact doesn't mean low intensity. A low-intensity workout requires one or more feet on the ground and minimal force on the joints and ligaments. 

In contrast, high-impact workouts involve more sudden, forceful movements that impact your joints and ligaments. They often require you to take both feet off the ground. High-impact exercises include:

  • Running
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jump rope
  • Hiking
  • Burpees

Each type of workout has its benefits. Low-impact training can help build muscle, burn fat, and improve alignment and balance. High-impact training burns calories quicker, resulting in faster weight loss, helps improve bone density and builds muscle.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.