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Jump for joy (not for exercise) with this low-impact cardio workout

Jumping and hopping may be fine for the Easter Bunny, but it’s not recommended for people recovering from injuries or those who suffer from joint pain. When planning a cardio routine, you’ll find plenty of high-intensity moves– none of which are joint-friendly. 

Did you know it’s possible to do a HIIT workout that gets your heart pumping and provides plenty of cardio without jumping, hopping, or skipping? In this blog post, you’ll learn low-impact cardio moves designed to strengthen your heart and blood vessels, increase endurance, and deliver results. 

Low-impact warm-up exercise

Low-impact jumping jacks

I know– we said no jumping, and then we went and put “jumping” in the warm-up. Don’t worry. These low-impact jumping jacks involve zero jumping but are guaranteed to get your heart pumping. 

Begin by standing with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Now: 

  • Take one step to the right.
  • Bring your left foot to join your right.
  • Lift your right foot until it makes a 45° angle with the floor, knee facing forward, while bringing both hands above your head (like you would in a classic jumping jack).
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on your left side.

3 low-impact cardio exercises

When getting your heart pumping with low-impact cardio, you’ll want to complete the most repetitions (while using good form) before resting. Choose the work/rest interval that reflects where you are in your fitness journey: 

  1. 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest
  2. 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest
  3. 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest

In between rounds, rest 30–60 seconds before starting the next interval. In total, complete 3–5 rounds during your workout.

Bear crawl

For GRRRReat results, add a bear crawl to your routine. To complete the bear crawl exercise:

  • Begin on all fours with your legs hip-width apart, your arms shoulder-width apart, and your back flat. With your knees at a 90° angle, lift them an inch from the ground. 
  • Make like a bear and move your right hand and left foot in sync, staying low to the ground. 
  • Repeat on the other side with your left hand and right foot. 
  • Take a few bear crawls forward, then reverse to move backward. 

Mountain climber twist

Take your heart rate to new heights with the mountain climber twist. To complete this exercise:

  • Begin in a high plank with your arms and legs shoulder-width apart, shoulders directly above your wrists, palms flat on the floor, and your core engaged. 
  • From there, bring your right knee toward your left elbow. 
  • Return to the starting position. 
  • Now, bring your left knee toward your right elbow. 
  • Repeat. 

Keep your core engaged, and do the mountain climber twist as quickly as possible to increase your heart rate. 

Squat to jab

Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee with the squat to jab move. 

To complete this exercise:

  • Begin with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your arms in a boxer “ready” pose (hands in fists with your forearms parallel to your chest)
  • Keep your chest up, and squat down until your thighs are parallel with the ground.
  • Return to standing, and throw a cross-body punch with each arm.
  • Repeat. 

Complete this exercise quickly to increase your heart rate.

A healthy heart doesn’t require any jumping, hopping, or skipping. Just add this low-impact routine to your fitness plan, and try to increase the number of reps you can complete in the intervals you choose. 

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