Low-intensity training is incredibly beneficial for our health, mood, and energy levels. And a low intensity workout might be just what you need if you’re a beginner, or recovering from injury.
What’s more, thanks to its nature, low-intensity activities tend to be safer and more comfortable to learn, which makes them perfect for beginners.
So, if you’ve been looking for effective ways to embark on your fitness journey, read on. Today, we’ll go over what low intensity workouts are, how to go about them, and six great options to try.
What Constitutes As A Low Intensity Workout?
Several things characterize a low intensity workout. They are as follows:
- The heart training zone is low to moderate – somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR).
- The stress on your joints and muscles is low, which makes it great for beginners, especially for overweight folks.
- The intensity is moderate, and you should be able to maintain a conversation while exercising. So it’s a great workout when working out with friends who want to catch up.
- It’s great for beginners because it’s much easier to get started, the risk of injury is virtually zero, and you’re not putting stress on your joints. Plus, unlike more intense activities, low-intensity workouts are less intimidating and much better for overweight and obese folks.
- And finally, low intensity workouts are an excellent option for warming up before resistance training (weight lifting). A good example here is walking or jogging on a treadmill for five to ten minutes before an intense weight lifting workout to build lean muscle.
Proper Warm-up Prior to a Low Intensity Workout
Warming up correctly is vitally important, no matter how seemingly easy and low-intensity your workout is. For one, a proper warm-up will get your blood flowing, warm-up your joints, warm your muscles, and raise your heart rate. Second, a good warm-up will put you in the mindset of training.
So, always take five to ten minutes to warm-up very well – it’s going to pay off incredibly well in the long-run. And it’s the best insurance to protect against injury.
For example, you can do some dynamic stretching exercises such as leg and arm swings. You can also do low-impact activities like jumping jacks or jogging in place.
And if you’re a fan of simplicity, you can even go with something as straightforward as hopping up and down. This simple movement is great to increase your heart rate and get your blood flowing.
Six Amazing Low-Intensity Workouts
Each of these is a great way to tackle low-intensity training. But remember, that you should always check with your doctor before starting any fitness regimen.
You can start moderate here – no more than five to ten minutes per day of a medium to brisk walk. Then, increase your walking duration by five minutes every three to four days. After a month, you should be walking for 30 to 45 minutes per day. This is a perfect starting point to build your fitness foundation.
Start with five to ten minutes at a time, keeping your heart rate between 40 and 50 percent of MHR and progress to 30 minutes within a month. As you gain experience, adjust the resistance on the pedals for a more effective leg workout.
Plus, if you plan on bicycling in an urban setting, make sure to learn the local traffic laws and use your arms as turning signals. It’s always best to ride in an area that you are most familiar with, and has low traffic.
Begin jogging lightly and make sure you have good running shoes to protect your feet and knees – Asics are among the best. Start with as little or as much as possible – even two minutes of jogging is better than not trying. Aim for slow progression over time. It’s very motivating to feel your conditioning and strength progress over time. (1)
Start with a moderate speed and just a few minutes of climbing. Over time, make sure to add time gradually. The stair climber is ideal because it’s a very smooth motion and easy on your joints.
Get yourself a pair of goggles (you can get them for $10 at Walmart) and start with just a few minutes of freestyle/front crawl and sidestroke. Swimming is great exercise, and works your full body. And it’s very joint-friendly. (2)
Low Intensity Workouts Should Be Part of Every Fitness Regimen
Low intensity workouts should be part of every fitness routine. So whether you are a fitness guru, or just getting started, low intensity is for you.
If you are a fitness buff you will still have days where you want to do a cardio workout, but you’re just not feeling it. These days are not a good fit for a tough workout. This is when low intensity is perfect to round out your routine.
And if you are just getting started, then low intensity is exactly where you want to be. If you start too fast you can suffer an injury or other problems that can steal your motivation and set you back weeks (or months). So brisk walking or riding a bike is perfect to start the journey to a new you!
Click to see the opposite of low intensity workouts, which are called HIIT workouts.
- Official U.S. site: Running Shoes and Activewear. ASICS. (n.d.).
Athletic Works Supernova Adult Swim Goggles, tinted, anti-fog lenses with UV protection, black. Walmart.com. (n.d.). https://www.walmart.com/ip/Athletic-Works-Supernova-Adult-Swim-Goggles-Tinted-Anti-Fog-Lenses-with-UV-protection-Black/694096434