Low Impact Ways to Move Your Body

low impact exercise

If you’re struggling with knee pain, you might hesitate to exercise. But did you know that exercise has numerous advantages? It can help lower your chances of developing conditions like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and anxiety.

So, even if knee pain and stiffness make it difficult to move around, it’s worth considering low-impact exercises to stay active. These types of exercises can be especially beneficial for individuals with knee arthritis, as they are gentle on the joints while still providing a good workout.

By incorporating low-impact exercises into your routine, you can work towards managing your knee arthritis and improving your overall health. So, don’t let knee pain discourage you from staying active – give these exercises a try and see how they can positively impact your well-being.

What are low-impact exercises?

Low-impact exercises are the best exercises for knee arthritis because they are gentle on your joints and help improve flexibility and strength. When we say “low impact,” we mean that these exercises put less pressure and stress on your knees.

This is important for people with knee arthritis because their joints are already sensitive and can easily be further injured. These exercises allow you to work out without exacerbating any pain or discomfort in your knees.

In addition, low-impact exercises still provide cardiovascular benefits by getting your heart rate up. So, you can enjoy the benefits of improved cardiovascular health while being kind to your knees. Some examples of low-impact exercises include walking, swimming, cycling, and using an elliptical machine.

These activities involve more fluid motions and less pounding or jarring movements compared to high-impact exercises like running and jumping. Therefore, if you have knee arthritis, incorporating low-impact exercises into your fitness routine is the best way to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Related video: How much exercise do you need each day?

Types of low-impact exercises


Walking is a great way to exercise without putting too much strain on your joints. It’s a simple activity that you can easily do by taking a leisurely stroll. But if you want to make it a bit more challenging, you can try walking on an incline or increasing your speed.

These small changes can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your workout. If you’re looking for alternative exercises that are also gentle on your joints, you can give the elliptical or stair climber a try.

These machines provide a low-impact workout that can help you stay fit without hurting your joints. So, whether you prefer walking or using these machines, you have plenty of options for low-impact exercises that can keep you active and healthy.

Related video: 5 Unexpected benefits of walking


For those searching for gentle exercises that are easy on the body, swimming and water aerobics are highly recommended. These activities have the advantage of being low-impact, meaning they don’t put too much stress on your joints, especially your knees.

The reason behind this is the buoyancy of water, which effortlessly helps support your weight. As a result, you can move without feeling the strain or pressure that you might experience with other activities.

Additionally, the resistance provided by the water subtly exercises your muscles, making them work harder and boosting your heart rate. This combination of factors makes swimming and water aerobics excellent choices for those seeking exercises that are both safe and effective.

Related video: Swimming is a superpower

Bike riding

Cycling is a fantastic form of exercise that is gentle on your body. Whether you choose to ride a bicycle outdoors or use a stationary bike indoors, both options provide a low-impact workout. This means that it won’t put too much strain or pressure on your joints, specifically your knees.

By pedaling faster or cycling on an incline, you can make the exercise more challenging and intense. This will not only help you burn more calories but also increase your heart rate, which is great for cardiovascular health. Overall, cycling is a safe and effective way to get moving and achieve a healthy lifestyle.


Stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility and range of motion, and low-body stretches are especially helpful for improving knee movement. After spending some time warming up – such as by walking or biking – take some time to do a few simple stretches.

Some effective options are squats, back leg slides, back leg stretches, hamstring stretches, and knee flexes. Yoga is another great way to move your body in a low-impact way.


If you have access to a gym, give the rowing machine a try. You can also use an actual rowboat if you have one handy. It’s a great total-body exercise that can benefit your strength and cardiovascular system. At the same time, the movements don’t put too much pressure on your joints.

Low-impact cardio

If you want to do exercises that are easy on your joints and muscles, there are plenty of options for you. You can even modify popular cardio moves to make them low-impact. 

For example: 

  • Instead of doing regular jumping jacks where you jump both feet out to the side, you can try a modified version where you move one leg to the side at a time while raising your arms. This way, you still get the arm and leg movements without any jumping. 
  • Another modified exercise you can try is a mountain climber. Instead of quickly switching legs while in a high plank position, you can bring one knee to your chest at a time, giving you a good core and leg workout. 
  • A modified burpee is also a great low-impact option. Instead of jumping both feet back and then forward, you can step one foot back at a time and then step back in. 
  • Lastly, static lunges are a low-impact alternative to regular lunges. Instead of stepping forward and backward in a lunge motion, you can keep one foot in place while lunging forward and backward with the other. 

These modified versions of popular exercises allow you to still get a good workout while being gentle on your body.

About Arthritis Knee Pain Centers®

Arthritis Knee Pain Centers® specializes in non-surgical treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. With clinics across the US, we provide an exceptional experience for our patients so they can get back to living without debilitating knee pain.

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